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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISTURBANCE ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION OF GREAT BASIN RANGELAND Title: Predicting wolf (Canis lupus)-cattle (Bos Taurus) encounters and consequential effects on cattle resource selection patterns

Authors
item Clark, Patrick
item Chigbrow, Darrel -
item Crane, Kelly -
item Williams, John -
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 10, 2011
Citation: Clark, P., Chigbrow, D.J., Crane, K.K., Williams, J., Larson, L.L., Johnson, D.E. 2011. Predicting wolf (Canis lupus)-cattle (Bos Taurus) encounters and consequential effects on cattle resource selection patterns. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts.

Technical Abstract: The gray wolf population in Idaho has grown dramatically from the original 35 reintroduced individuals in 1995-1996 to 94 documented packs and a minimum population of 835 individuals in 2009. Wolf depredation on livestock has also increased dramatically with this population growth. Substantial spatiotemporal variability in wolf predation risk likely exists within large livestock grazing areas (e.g., public land grazing allotments) but this variability, its driving factors, and its consequences to livestock resource selection patterns have never been evaluated. Beef cattle and wolf resource selection patterns were evaluated using Clark GPS tracking collars logging locations every 5 min (cattle) or 15 min (wolves). Potential wolf-cattle encounters were determined based on wolf-cattle GPS location pairs that occurred within 500 m and 15 min of each other. Wolf scat locations were also surveyed and geo-located weekly along standardized routes. Potential wolf rendezvous sites were identified from a predictive wolf resource selection map. Potential wolf-cattle encounters were highly correlated to the location and timing of fresh wolf scat detected on survey routes. These encounters were also highly correlated with predicted wolf rendezvous sites. Although confirmation is needed, scat routes and wolf resource selection maps appear to be very useful tools for livestock producers and natural resource managers to assess the spatiotemporal variability of risk to wolf depredation on large livestock grazing areas. These tools have the potential to provide an early warning prior to or during the grazing season, perhaps allowing livestock management adjustments to be made before serious depredation losses take place.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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