GPS Tracking Shows How Much Wolf Packs Avoid Each Other’s Range


This image of GPS tracking of multiple wolves in six different packs around Voyageurs National Park was created in the framework of the Voyageurs Wolf Project. It is an excellent illustration of how much wolf packs in general avoid each other’s range.

wolf pack ranges
Image credit: Thomas Gable

In Voyageurs National Park a typical wolf pack territory is somewhere around 50-70 square miles but that can vary from year to year. So that’s about the size of the areas marked with the different colors. The white line marks the boundary of the national park.

Credit: Voyageurs Wolf Project

As beautifully demonstrated by the animation, wolf packs generally avoid being around each other unless they are fighting for food that may be in short supply. When that occurs, they may engage in battles with other packs in order to continue have their claim on a given location as well as the food found within it.

Wolves may need to shift their territory due to human activity as well. When people clear out part of their natural habitat they may have to find a new route to get to their food sources. This can also create conflicts among the various wolf packs due to overstepping their bounds.

Sources: Voyageurs Wolf Project, Wolfworlds

16 COMMENTS

  1. I LOVE seeing all the IDIOTS chiming in! But I think Kira’s right, the White pack is more gutsy. Great study, thanks! I reread Ian’s statement 3 times and it’s still Bla Bla Bla!

  2. With only 6 packs and human interaction causing fragmented populations, wonder how closely related these packs are and how data can be understood.
    The age and genetics are only data they cannot explain history or relationships.

    • This may be a single individual who is a young or outcast male. Wolf packs also avoid inbreeding by straying into other territory to mate.

    • The white line you are talking about is the park boundary. It says that in the article. Also, you can see the white line going through water.

    • The white line (GPS collar, not boundary) doesn’t move in a natural way. ie, wolves don’t walk 15 miles in a straight line. I think we’re seeing some GPS irregularities here.

      • It’s more likely that the GPS collar on the white pack is pinging less frequently then the other collars. Each dot is a ping. The line between dots is placed so you can better follow the trail of the Wolf. If a wolf is moving quickly. Like when it is tracking prey. The next dot May pop up far away. There would be a straight line between the two dots even though the wolf did not move in a straight line

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