Spring-autumn diet of wolves (Canis lupus) in Slovakia and a review of wolf prey selection
The diet of a recovered wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Western Carpathian Mountains, Slovakia, was studied by scat analysis in March-November 2001-04 to assess the significance of livestock as a food item. As scat contents often do not reflect the proportions of items ingested, mean percentage volume in scats (m/V) was converted into estimates of biomass consumed using experimentally derived regression equations. Wild ungulates accounted for 92.8% of biomass consumed (mean volume of scats=91.1 %). Cervids clearly dominated wolf diet, found in 75.6 % of all scats (n=78) and comprising an estimated 79.3 % of biomass consumed. Macroscopic examination of bone/hoof material was used to classify cervid remains as adult (>1 year old) or juvenile (less 1 year old). Of 24 scats in which remains could be classified, 20 contained juveniles and four adults; the ratio of juvenile:adult cervids was highest in summer (10:1). Juveniles were estimated to account for 74.4 % of cervid biomass consumed. The second most important item, wild boar (Sus scrofa), was found in 20.5% of scats. It comprised an estimated 13.5 % of biomass consumed. Remains of cattle and sheep were found in one scat each and totalled 4.8 % of biomass consumed, suggesting that livestock was not a major component of wolf diet. Factors influencing prey selection, including wild versus domestic ungulates, are reviewed.
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