Lack of Evidence of Cattle Depredation by a Small Pack of Wolves of the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area in East-Central Alberta

Posted on May 15, 2020


by Gilbert PROULX and Kimberley A. VILLENEUVE
CWBM 9 (1): 1–11

Correspondence: Gilbert Proulx, Alpha Wildlife Research & Management Ltd., 229 Lilac Terrace, Sherwood Park, Alberta, T8H 1W3, Canada.



In east-central Alberta, livestock producers consider that wolves (Canis lupus) inhabiting the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area (thereafter referred as the Blackfoot Recreation Area), where forests are interspersed with pastures and farms, are a threat to cattle (Bos taurus). In order to better understand the wolf-producers conflict, we studied the food habits of the small pack of wolves (2-3 individuals) inhabiting the Blackfoot Recreation Area. We hypothesized that cattle were not an important food item of the small pack of wolves. We collected 58 and 72 wolf scats in summer (14 May to 5 September 2018) and winter (25 September 2017 to 20 March 2018), respectively. In winter, 2 scats contained cattle hairs (5 and 40% of the remains). No cattle hairs were found in summer scats. In terms of biomass, cervids (mainly moose, Alces americanus) were the most important prey of wolves in the Blackfoot Recreation Area. From a frequency point of view, small mammals, snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) and bird remains were most commonly found in wolf scats. This study showed that cattle was not important in the diet of wolves in the Blackfoot Recreation Area. Our findings need to be reported to local farmers, ranchers, and the general public, to properly educate them about the impact of wolves on populations of domestic and wild prey, and appease their fears and concerns.

Key Words: Conservation, Human-wildlife Conflict, Mitigation, Nuisance Animal Problem Animal, Translocation.



View Full-Text    Download PDF