Since 2015, there have been researchers hard at work tracking the movements of wolf packs living at the Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota. The team has been doing vital work, collecting information on wolves’ predation and inter-pack habits. Only last summer, the team set up seven wolves from different wolf packs with GPS collars which recorded their location every 20 minutes. They were able to pick up 72 locations per day.
The Voyageurs Wolf Project posted on social media that the GPS data ended up being quite vital to understanding pack dynamics as well as their boundaries. This also showed how their predation worked as well since the team would often visit the spots where the wolves were in order to see if a kill had been made.
As the team shared in their post, “This required an estimated 5,000 miles of hiking this past summer from our field crew!!”
Sounds quite exhausting!
Back in December, the Voyageurs Wolf Project posted a map that showed how the wolves moved about throughout the duration of the season. The team later released a similar map that was time-lapsed in order to highlight the wolves’ movements within their own territory spaces.
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Each wolf pack was made up of around five wolves, meaning that each pack’s area would cover around 60 square miles. The team also found that wolves are quite territorial, which means that they normally would not dare to cross into each other’s territories. If packs do cross over, it is known to get quite ugly between the alpha males, who typically fight to the death.
Regarding one person’s question about the “white” wolf’s erratic behavior, the team stated that it was most likely the result of a youngster looking to break away from his pack. The team explained, “It is common for wolves to make movements like this before they actually disperse. Wolf biologists call these movement ‘extra-territorial forays’ and it is a way for the wolf to gather information on the great beyond!”
This valuable information that the project has been collecting will hopefully help to better understand wolf packs, and hopefully aid in future conservation efforts.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.