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—JANUARY 14, 2013—

             The field work for this project will soon wrap up. Currently, Luke (M.Sc. Candidate) and his assistant are monitoring the collared wolves and investigating kill sites. Stable isotope analysis is also underway to examine the diets of wolves in this northern predator-prey system.

             Since January 2010, 155 wolves have been captured and radio-collared among the 3 study areas.

 

—AUGUST 4, 2011—

Number of animals collared in the three study areas:

Auden (since Feb 2010): 47 wolves caught, 19 satellite collars deployed, 18 packs collared

Pickle Lake (since Feb 2010): 30 wolves caught, 15 satellite collars deployed, 10 packs collared

Cochrane (since Sept 2010): 19 wolves caught, 10 satellite collars deployed, 11 packs collared

To contact us:

Phone: 705-755-1553

Fax: 705-755-1559

E-mail: brent.patterson@ontario.ca

Understanding Wolf-Caribou Interactions in Northern Ontario

Forest-dwelling caribou have experienced declining abundance and range retraction throughout large parts of the boreal zone in Ontario, resulting in the designation of woodland caribou as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act in Ontario and nationally under the federal Species at Risk Act. Inadequate food supplies may be one factor related to the recent declines in woodland caribou populations, but in general, unsustainable levels of predation are thought to be a major contributing factor. However, there is no reason to expect that a single factor explains caribou decline across all of Ontario and our goal is to develop a more complex model evaluation design that considers the impact of (and interactions among) multiple causal factors.

Objectives

· use satellite radio-telemetry data for wolves across 3 areas of northern Ontario to determine patterns of movement, home range use, predation risk, survival, and offspring recruitment

· develop mechanistic movement models for woodland caribou and wolves on the basis of energy gain and predation risk

· use mechanistic movement models from ˝ the study animals to predict patterns of home range use, habitat selection, and predation risk and test those predictions against field observations from the other ˝ of study animals

· link the movement, energy-gain, predation risk, and vital rates sub-models with a spatially-explicit population viability model for woodland caribou

· use the PVA models to predict the long-term effect of forest disturbance from natural and anthropogenic causes on the probability of population persistence by woodland caribou and the potential caribou response to alternative management policies available to the government of Ontario

Study area

· we are conducting this work in 3 large study areas in northern Ontario; 2 disturbed landscapes south of the area of the undertaking, and a 3rd control site just west of Pickle Lake

Partners:  John Fryxell, University of Guelph

  Ian Thompson, Canadian Forest Service

  Luke Vander Vennen, University of Guelph

  Morgan Anderson, University of Guelph

  Scott Moffatt, University of Guelph

  Art Rodgers, MNRF Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (CNFER)

  Jim Baker, MNRF Applied Research and Development Branch

  Doug Reid, MNRF Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (CNFER)

 

Funding Agencies: MNRF Applied Research and Development Branch

MNRF Species at Risk Branch

NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

Ontario Graduate Student Scholarship

Canadian Forest Service

University of Guelph