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Mammalia

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Volume 80, Issue 3

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Wolf diet in an agricultural landscape of north-eastern Turkey

Claudia CapitaniORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1899-8679 / Mark Chynoweth / Josip Kusak / Emrah Çoban / Çağan H. Şekercioğlu
  • Department of Biology, University of Utah, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, 84112 UT, USA
  • KuzeyDoğa Society, Ortakapi Mah. Sehit Yusuf Cad. No:93 Kat:1, Merkez, Kars 36100, Turkey
  • College of Sciences, Koç University, Rumelifeneri, Sariyer 34450, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0151

Abstract

In this study, we investigated wolf feeding ecology in Kars province, north-eastern Turkey, by analysing 72 scat samples collected in spring 2013. Ongoing camera trap surveys suggest that large wild ungulates are exceptionally rare in the region. On the contrary, livestock is abundant. Accordingly, scats analysis revealed that livestock constituted most of the biomass intake for wolves, although small mammals were the most frequent prey items. Wild ungulates were occasional prey, and although wolves make use of the main village garbage dump as a food source, garbage remains were scarce in scat samples. Wolf dependence on anthropogenic resources, primarily livestock, generates human-wildlife conflicts in the study area. Uncontrolled carcass disposal seems to boost this wolf behaviour. Synanthropy enhances the probability of wolf-human encounters and thus increases the risk of direct persecution, vehicle collisions, and hybridisation with dogs. When livestock is not available, small mammals are an important alternative prey for wolves. This may increase interspecific competition, particularly with lynx, which is also lacking natural prey in the area. Our preliminary results contribute to wolf ecology and conservation in the Anatolian-Caucasian range, where further studies are urgently needed to generate baseline data.

Keywords: generalist carnivore; human-wildlife conflict; livestock scavenging; scats analysis

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About the article

Received: 2014-10-14

Accepted: 2015-04-22

Published Online: 2015-06-01

Published in Print: 2016-05-01


Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 80, Issue 3, Pages 329–334, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0151.

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