Lions and wolves

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Lions and wolves

Post by x1103 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:12 am

I'm not sure how to specify this but I'd like to hear about the differences and similarities of these two animals as they both live in packs/prides. As a dog/canine person I often find myself bemoaning the actions of big cats in nature documentaries, thinking that "wolves would never do that!" Of course, I have a pair of well glued heart-shaped glasses on.

So is such nasty behaviour such as killing their own young (this documentary I watched about lions clames that when perhaps seen as a thread by the dominant male he killed his own son, who hadn't even fully matured yet), common / even possible among wolves?

Or rather, again, what are the not so nice (or nice?) things that these animals have in common? I'm trying to shake off the glasses. :D
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Oh and in one documentary, a female lion's cubs were killed by the pride as they were curious but too rough on the newborns. The breeding female in a wolf pack also wants her privacy when giving birth, so is it because of mistrust on her family's gentliness?
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Re: Lions and wolves

Post by Isela » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:14 pm

It is common in lions to kill the cubs, moreso if a male lion is overthrown by an intruding male lion. The new lion will kill the first male’s cubs as a way to eradicate the genes from the previous male in the pride, and to bring the lioness(es) back in estrus.

Wolves, however, have been seen to take in another wolf’s pups and raise them as their own. Pups are vital to a wolf pack, because they are their future. For example, there was a female wolf in Yellowstone with the tracking number 42F. She was known as the Cinderella wolf, because she was practically her sister’s, 40F, punching bag. 40F was the dominant female at the time. Eventually things came to a head, and it’s assumed that 40F was killed by 42F and the rest of her pack, because she was found beaten anf dying by the road. She also had pups at the time, which 42F took under her wing, despite the treatment her sister gave her.

Captive wolves will also accept foreign pups through an extensive socialization process, such as what the International Wolf Center does when they get new pups every four years.

Currently in class so I’ll try to add more later.

- Edit -

To clarify, it is much more likely for wolves to adopt pups that are related, as 42F did. In the case of the wolf center,
their process is careful, controlled, and methodical. The wolf care staff hand raise the pups the first couple weeks, socializing them to dogs in the meantime to get them used to canine behaviors before introducing them to the adult wolves. Then, the pups are put in a separate enclosure from the adults. They can hear and smell each other, but not see each other yet. Once that is done, the pups will be introduced into the main exhibit pack. However, in some cases, not every adult wolf will accept the pups. Luna, a female wolf at the wolf center, showed aggression toward the two arctic yearlings, Axel and Grayson, when they were pups. As a result of this, and other health complications, Luna had to be moved to the retirement enclosure. This shows that adoptions with no relation to each other can be quite risky, and doesn't happen very often in the wild.

I should also specify that during the socialization process at the wolf center, the adult wolves, though spayed and neutered, still experience hormonal changes in February and March, when their mating season takes place. The wolves will still experience maternal hormones during the spring months, such as oxytocin, which helps with the socialization process between the pups and adults. If this process were attempted any other time of the year, the feasibility of the pups being accepted by the pack would be much lower.

So, in this way, wolves and lions are similar in regards to genetic competition. The most basic and fundamental part of biology is to pass on your genes. In the wild, especially with familial groups, there is less tolerance toward rival offspring.
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