April 10, 2017 by Mary-Ann Muffoletto, Utah State University
In harm's way: Wolves may not risk 'prey switching' ecologists say
In Yellowstone National Park, wolves cautiously stalk bison. Utah State University ecologists report wolves seldom hunt bison, though plentiful, because the latter is dangerous prey. Instead, wolves pursue elk, a scarcer yet safer target. Credit: Daniel Stahler, NPS
Ecologists have long observed predators pursue disproportionately more of a plentiful prey species, and less of scarce prey, but change to the latter if it becomes relatively more abundant. Known as "prey switching," this phenomenon is ecologically important, because it helps to stabilize wildlife populations. But what if the more abundant prey is more dangerous?
A lone Wolf can kill a Wolf calf,,,,,,,,,,,,,,A large pack needed to kill an adult
A 2012 recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Tallian's research was performed under a NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide grant. MacNulty is supported by a grant from NSF's Long-Term Environmental Biology program.
Utah State University wildlife ecologist Aimee Tallian, pictured at a campsite in Yellowstone National Park's Pelican Valley, reports the ability of wolves and other predators to shift between hunting and scavenging is an under-appreciated
More information: Functional Ecology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12866Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-wolves-prey-ecologists.html#jC