Grizzly/wolf food competition examined
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 9, 2017
Grizzly bear presence reduces wolf kill rates, according to a new research paper, "Competition between apex predators? Brown bears decrease wolf kill rate on two continents."
Grizzly bears are a dominant species that scavenge on wolf-killed prey, leading to the assumption that wolves have to hunt more often to compensate for the loss of food.
But the new paper, based on an examination of wolf kill rates in Scandinavia and Yellowstone National Park, found the opposite: wolf packs living in the same area as grizzly bears killed less often.
The researchers noted "this implies that bears might negatively affect the food intake of wolves, such that wolf populations that are sympatric with brown bears might suffer fitness consequences. Determining the energetic costs of these interactions (e.g. food biomass lost and energy expended by wolves) and linking them to predator population dynamics will ultimately help us understand the costs of sympatry among apex predator populations."
The new paper is linked below.