Wolves: Hunting Affects Stress, Reproduction, and Sociality

A wolf lies in the grass, blending into the background

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

Harassed wolves show elevated levels of stress and reproductive hormones.

Published on November 12, 2014 by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. in Animal Emotions

A study just published in the journal Functional Ecology called “Heavily hunted wolves have higher stress and reproductive steroids than wolves with lower hunting pressure” by Heather Bryan, of the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and a Raincoast Conservation Foundation scientist, and her colleagues shows that heavily hunted individuals show changes in reproductive behavior and that there is social disruption of their packs. The effects of hunting can have long-term consequences. A summary of this most important study can be read here.

To analyze stress levels, the research team studied hair samples from wolves living on the tundra/taiga from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories (n = 103) and wolves living in the boreal forests of Alberta and the Northwest Territories (n = 45). The wolves living on the open landscape of the tundra/taiga typically hunt caribou and are more exposed to hunting than the wolves living in the boreal forest, who hunt moose and are less harassed.

The results of this study are as follows…

To read the full article please visit the Psychology Today website.

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