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Pinedale Online > News > November 2014 > Big Packs, Bigger Game
Big Packs, Bigger Game
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
November 12, 2014

Researchers at Utah State University published a new paper indicating that wolf pack size may influence what prey is targeted. Smaller packs of 2-6 wolves are successful at taking down elk, but bigger packs (9-13 wolves) turn to bison as prey. Elk are much smaller than bison.

The paper, "Influence of Group Size on the Success of Wolves Hunting Bison," was published in the online journal PLos ONE this week, with research centered on wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park.

The researchers noted: "Whereas improvement in elk capture success levelled off at 26 wolves, bison capture success levelled off at 913 wolves with evidence that it continued to increase beyond 13 wolves. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that hunters in large groups are more cooperative when hunting more formidable prey. Improved ability to capture formidable prey could therefore promote the formation and maintenance of large predator groups, particularly among predators that specialize on such prey."

To read the details, click on the links below.

Related Links
  • PLos One - Read the journal paper here.
  • Salt Lake Tribune - Read an article about the research here.
  • Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit
  • Pinedale Online > News > November 2014 > Big Packs, Bigger Game

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