USFWS – Temporal use of the Nushagak Peninsula by wolves, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, southwestern Alaska
July 4, 2019
We investigated the time budgets of wolves in the vicinity of the Nushagak Peninsula in order to understand their role as a population control of the Nushagak Peninsula Caribou Herd. Using a combination of conventional and GPS radio telemetry; we followed three wolf packs located near the Nushagak Peninsula from 2007 through 2011. We found that only one pack regularly used the Peninsula, while the other two did not. The pack using the Peninsula averaged 32% of its time there, and 68% elsewhere. Its seasonal use of the Peninsula was disproportionately high in summer and fall, and disproportionately low in winter. Wolf use of the Peninsula increased during the course of this study, primarily in late summer and fall. Concurrently, the Nushagak Peninsula Caribou Herd increased. We conclude that wolves capitalized on increasing caribou abundance by focusing more time on caribou predation, but were not a primary population control of the Nushagak Peninsula Caribou Herd.
Author(s): Patrick Walsh and James Woolington