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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Title: Spatial movement of free-roaming cattle (Bos Taurus) when in proximity to wolves (Canis lupus)

Authors
item Williams, John -
item Clark, Patrick
item Crane, Kelly -
item Larson, Larry -
item Johnson, Douglas -

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 5, 2010
Publication Date: February 9, 2011
Citation: Williams, J., Clark, P., Crane, K., Larson, L., Johnson, D.E. 2011. Spatial movement of free-roaming cattle (Bos Taurus) when in proximity to wolves (Canis lupus). Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts.

Technical Abstract: In 1995 and 1996, 31 wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and 35 in central Idaho. These populations have grown to more than 1,500 with more than 835 in Idaho. As wolf populations have grown, so has predation on livestock, complicating cow and ranch management. Our study was designed to document cow spatial behavior with and without wolves. The study site covers approximately 173 km2 (67 mile2) of pastures located in western Idaho. Ten randomly selected cows from a herd of 450 were collared with GPS trackers that recorded positions every 5 minutes from 1 April to late November 2009. A 43 kg (95 lb.) male grey wolf was tracked every 15 min with a GPS collar from 22 May to 18 December 2009. The wolf was part of a pack that contained 12 individuals which were involved in livestock depredation. Each position logged was tagged with the animal number, latitude and longitude, date, time, velocity, and fix quality information. Collared cattle first encountered (proximity < 500m) the collared wolf on 23 June 2009. Over the next 137 days collared cattle encountered this wolf 783 times at distances less than 500 m and 53 times at distances less than 100 m. Wolf encounters were typically at night. Cow daily travel distances prior to and during periods of wolf encounters are compared as is cattle spatial behavior.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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