Gray wolves feed the masses while hunters feed the few

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) and human hunters both provide resource subsidies to scavengers in Yellowstone National Park, USA, by provisioning them with the remains of their kills. Carrion from wolf versus hunter kills is much more dispersed in both time and space.

In the November issue of Ecology Letters, scientists from Berkeley and Yellowstone estimated the total amount of carrion consumed over a four year period by scavengers at both wolf and hunter kills.

Highly mobile individuals such as bald eagles and ravens dominated consumption at hunter kills while competitively dominant but less mobile coyotes dominated at wolf kills. More importantly, a great diversity of species were found at wolf than hunter kills implying that wolves much more than hunters promote ecosystem diversity and, ultimately, the overall health of the Yellowstone ecosystem.


Contact: Kate Stinchcombe
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Page: 1

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