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When male pups grow old enough to mate are they expected to leave the pack or the alpha male will kill them- kind of like a lion pride? Or are they still welcome to stay in the pack?
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Firstly, know that "alpha" is not an accurate term to describe an animal in a typical wild wolf pack. Wolf packs generally consist of the breeding pair, their offspring, and occasionally an unrelated animal. In regards to the term "alpha" and the act of dispersing -SilverAztec wrote: When male pups grow old enough to mate are they expected to leave the pack or the alpha male will kill them- kind of like a lion pride? Or are they still welcome to stay in the pack?
From Alpha Status, Dominance, and the Division of Labor in Wolf Packs:
From pages 10-12 of Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation:As offspring begin to mature, they disperse from the pack as young as 9 months of age (Fritts and Mech 1981; Messier 1985; Mech 1987; Fuller 1989; Gese and Mech 1991). Most disperse when 1-2 years old, and few remain beyond 3 years (Mech et al. 1998).Thus, young members constitute a temporary portion of most packs, and the only long-term members are the breeding pair. In contrast, captive packs often include members forced to remain together for many years (Rabb et al. 1967; Zimen 1987; Fentress et. all 1987) . . . Labeling a high-ranking wolf alpha emphasizes its rank in a dominance hierarchy. However, in natural wolf packs, the alpha male or female are merely the breeding animals, the parents of the pack, and dominance contests with other wolves are rare, if they exist at all. During my 13 summers observing the Ellesmere Island pack, I saw none.
Thus, calling a wolf an alpha is usually no more appropriate than referring to a human parent or a doe deer as an alpha. Any parent is dominant to its young offspring, so "alpha" adds no information. Why not refer to an alpha female as the female parent, the breeding female, the matriarch, or simply the mother? Such a designation emphasizes not the animal's dominant status, which is trivial information, but its role as pack progenitor, which is critical information.
The one use we may still want to reserve for "alpha" is in the relatively few large wolf packs comprised of multiple litters. Although the genetic relationships of the mothers in such packs remain unknown, probably the mothers include the original matriarch and one or more daughters, and the fathers are probably the patriarch and unrelated adoptees (Mech et al. 1998). In such cases the older breeders are probably dominant to the younger breeders and perhaps can more appropriately be called the alphas. Evidence for such a contention would be an older breeder consistently dominating food disposition or the travels of the pack.
Wolf parents allow their young to remain with them so long as their food supply can support more individuals than themselves. From the offspring's standpoint, if the food is secure, it is advantageous for them to stay with their parents rather than trying to find resources on their own, at least until the urge to breed compels them to seek a mate outside the natal pack . . . As indicated above, most wolves disperse from their natal packs. Unless it assumes a breeding position within the pack, which is rare, any wolf born into a pack will leave it. In fact, each wolf pack can be viewed as a "dispersal pump" that converts prey into young wolves and spews them far and wide over the landscape. On the average, then, a thriving pack of three to nine members producing six pups each year (see Fuller at. al., chap. 6 in this volume) thus "pumps out" about half its members annually . . . members may leave temporarily (see above) and return one to six times before finally dispersing (Fritts and Mech 1981; Van Ballenberghe 1983a; Peterson, Woolington, and Bailey 1984; Messier 1985b; Ballard et al. 1987; Mech 1987a; Potvin 1988; Fuller 1989b; Gese and Mech 1991).
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Don't use lions as an analogy. Wolf society is basically the same as that of other wild dogs. The only real differences are in how much they stay together. Let's just say that wolves are in between coyotes and African wild dogs.SilverAztec wrote: When male pups grow old enough to mate are they expected to leave the pack or the alpha male will kill them- kind of like a lion pride? Or are they still welcome to stay in the pack?
I cannot see that wolves are in any way nobler in character than hyenas- Frederick Selous