Stress affects wolves in hunting grounds, and it may alter their evolution: study

Globe and Mail

Sidney, B.C. — The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, Nov. 12 2014, 4:55 PM EST

Wolves in areas where the animals are heavily hunted have higher stress and reproductive hormones compared with those under lower hunting pressure, suggests a new study involving scientists from British Columbia, Alberta and Israel.

Researchers measured hormone levels in small tufts of wolf hair gathered in Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

They compared steroid hormone levels in hair of wolves living in Canada’s tundra-taiga region, which has heavy rates of hunting, with those in the northern boreal forest, where hunting rates are lower.

“The hair samples revealed that progesterone was higher in tundra-taiga wolves, possibly reflecting increased reproductive effort and social disruption in response to human-related mortality,” the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Functional Ecology…

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