We attempted to cross-foster four 18-19 week-old Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) pups into another Wolf pack 182 km from their natal pack territory. The pup introduction was the result of depredation control on a farm in northwestern Wisconsin. Three pups died within 14 days of release. A fourth pup survived along the edge of the new pack territory over winter, dispersed in the spring, joined or formed a new pack and was captured on a depredation complaint four years later.
Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.
Tallian et al
Clinchy et al 2013
A TALE OF THREE DOGS
Coyotes, dingoes and wolves are all dogs, as intelligent and loyal as our familiars. Our treatment of them is unconscionable. As a rule, apex predators are the bosses of nature’s regulatory system, promoting ecological richness and stability by suppressing irruptions of prey and smaller predators. ‘They allow the number and variety of species occupying any given area to be higher,’ said Wallach, now a research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney and co-founder with O’Neill of the Dingo for Biodiversity Project. ‘In a nutshell, large predators make the world green.’
Stenglein et al
Ecology Letters, 2015
Scientific American, Jason G Goldman, April 2016
Kittle et al 2015