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A map that shows how territorial wolves are (citypages.com)
145 points by hecubus 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

This project was led by Thomas Gable at Northern Michigan University, and was funded by individuals on Experiment, and has produced several publications and outputs [1].

One of the cool highlights is that he found out that wolves tend to ambush beavers near their dams and streams. They will wait downstream and do a sort of stake out. Then when the beaver swims by, the wolf will grab it, because it's harder for the beavers to swim back upstream.

There's another recent publication [2] from University of Washington, where researchers threw salmon carcasses to only one side of a stream for 20 years, and they went back and compared the trees on the banks. They guessed that the nutrients from salmon carcasses (taken out of the stream by bears, wolves, etc) ended up back into the trees and actually caused the trees on one side of the river to grow faster. I bet the natural predation of wolves and beavers does something similar near dams.

Anyways, rivers and streams are cool, and I'm super happy to have funded the project and seen Thomas' map go on the front page of reddit yesterday.

1. https://experiment.com/projects/how-do-wolves-and-beavers-in...

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-6uCuUqv8w

Experiment is a Kickstarter for Science projects ... who knew - that's fascinating.

Thanks for the extra info. This summer in the BWCA we startled a beaver on the bank, the first time I'd seen one so far out of water. It seemed quick but clumsy, it decided hiding behind a small bush was its best defense. I can see why wolves would predate them. I wonder how forest fires play into this as well. We noticed in areas that were burned ~5-15 years ago there were tons of young trees there were so many beavers.

Cats are also very territorial. However, their behaviors in this regard are much more complex. They often "timeshare" a given territory, where each cat roams it only during certain times of day, so as to avoid potential conflicts.



Many years ago, I had a male cat that could come and go as he liked. That was bad for birds etc, I know, but hey. Anyway, he eventually disappeared, so I put up posters around the neighborhood. And it turned out that several considered him to be their cat ;) He was "mine" to the extent that his mother was, but whatever. Never did see him again :(


A flamewar about cats can be vicious for sure, but please don't make it worse like this.

I do agree with the point. And I almost elaborated my comment about that. Because free-running and feral cats kill lots of birds and small mammals.

I do love cats as pets. I recall with fondness the carefree time when I let my cats run free. I mean, no need for litter boxes! And less expense for cat food! But at some point, that flipped to horror at the damage that they do. In part because they kill for play, not just for food.

So anyway, now my cats live indoors. And don't reproduce. But what to do about feral cats, I don't know. That's the discussion which is arguably pointless here.

Clicking from the article through to the Reddit post resulted in another link to https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/science-and-nature/45...

From the article after an annoying Google popup question about how many fish I eat per day...

A pack tends to be about 5 wolves, 18 were GPS collared during the summer for this graph, the wolves like eating beaver a lot, don't seem to like moose (article mentions moose stocks stable where the wolves are), and really really like blueberries.

There's a further link to a facebook page, but not using facebook, I leave this to you to click-through for any more facebook.com/VoyageursWolfProject

It’s more like moose don’t like wolves. A bull or cow moose can easily kill a wolf so it’s usually not worth the risk unless the moose is already weak or wounded.

Wolves will definitely eat from a moose carcass.

> and really really like blueberries.

One of the surprising things I learned from owning a large dog and having blueberry bushes is how much dogs love blueberries. When the dog was a puppy, I would catch him eating berries off the bushes. He still gets frozen ones as treats.

The number of moose is about the same as the number of wolves. Not very many.

This reminded me of the following wonderful article. In it, the author traces the lives of a particular clan of wolves in a similar reintroduction program in Oregon.


It’s amazing how little we understand about things right in front of our faces like this. These are essentially like wolf run kingdoms not that different than humans.

My other thought is how surprised their wolf scientist will be when they discover humans too have orginzed into territories like them. :)

If that interests you, check out Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep.

It reminded me of this: https://earthjustice.org/blog/2015-july/how-wolves-saved-the... - how wolves changed rivers and saved national Park. If I'm correct, it was on HN a long time ago, but a different source

First time, I see something on Reddit first than here at ycombinator.

Surely impressive how wolves act. We have to find a better way to keep them in check though. Especially in eastern/middle Europe were they are slowly coming back, it's a huge problem for farmers...

This is the best meaningful visual representation of data I've seen in a long time. So many visual maps and charts are incoherent or of such low contrast that it's hard to make anything useful out of them. I wish more projects used visuals like this.

Would be interesting if this kind of map was used to find previously known wolves by looking for appropriately sized areas not covered by any other wolf.

I skimmed this comment and thought you were suggesting the map would be used by wolves looking for a new territory.

Now I want to see the resting cortisol levels of each group. I bet the green pack has the highest!

I figured perhaps there were untracked wolves bordering the tracked ones, so the green pack may not have it the worst.

would this translate to dogs somehow?

how wary of conflict for their own self preservation?

If you are a deer, the save zones are obviously the territory borders. You migrate from one voronoi cell of trouble into the next.

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