Injured dominant wolves

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Flamesky
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Injured dominant wolves

Post by Flamesky » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:25 am

This question is for writing a story. I have read accounts of wolves feeding badly injured pack members. My question is what happens when the injured wolf is a breeding adult, and what happens if both breeding adults are injured. If the dominant male or female wolf in a wolf pack becomes sick or injured and can't hunt, will he or she be fed by the other wolves? If both dominant wolves are injured, would another wolf take charge of the pack or would they be killed by a rival pack?
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Re: Injured dominant wolves

Post by Koa » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:14 am

Flamesky wrote:This question is for writing a story. I have read accounts of wolves feeding badly injured pack members. My question is what happens when the injured wolf is a breeding adult, and what happens if both breeding adults are injured. If the dominant male or female wolf in a wolf pack becomes sick or injured and can't hunt, will he or she be fed by the other wolves? If both dominant wolves are injured, would another wolf take charge of the pack or would they be killed by a rival pack?
From my understanding, a 2016 study that Mech did was unable to prove that provisioning occurred for badly injured pack members. It seems that provisioning occurs for those afflicted by disease, however.
Extra wolves above the optimal hunting-group-size thresholds are needed when packs hunt larger, riskier prey, like moose, to provide substitute hunters when other wolves are injured (to maintain near-optimal hunting-group size) and to allow for pack provisioning and defence of the injured. The general tendency is for free-riding in wolves to increase as hunting-group-size increases, with the threshold for withholding effort higher for groups hunting very risky prey (MacNulty et al., 2012, 2014). Similarly, research on other large, cursorial, social predators demonstrated predators were more cooperative when hunting larger, riskier prey (e.g., African lions (Panthera leo); Scheel & Packer, 1991). Additionally, large predators were more successful at hunting large, difficult-to-catch prey when in larger groups up to a threshold (e.g., wild dogs (Lycaon pictus); Creel & Creel, 2002). Thus, we hypothesize when effective hunting-group size diminishes due to injured wolves hunting risky prey, that frequently free-riding wolves would exert more hunting effort. 1484 Wolf-pack-size persistence and hunting risk Almberg et al. (2015) found that wolves with mange survived better if in a larger pack than a smaller pack, and these authors attributed this increased survival to increased social care and provisioning. If wolves care for and provision diseased pack members while they recover, might they do the same for wolves traumatically injured while hunting? Parent wolves are known to provision even healthy offspring up to at least 13-months old (Mech, 1995), but we know of no records of such provisioning after that age.
Breeders were more likely to attack and kill in large groups in YNP than non-breeders (MacNulty et al., 2012), perhaps due to different cost–benefit ratios for hunting risky prey (Mukherjee & Heithaus, 2013) given differences in their average relatedness to packmates. When breeders are injured from hunting risky prey, do non-breeders (more often free-riders than breeders) in larger packs provision and defend them (from neighbouring wolves) and assume a more active role in attacking and killing risky prey? If breeders subsequently heal, do the non-breeders resume more frequent free-riding? More generally, it will be important to test whether the survival of injured wolves varies given pack size, whether packmates provision and defend injured wolves until they heal and can hunt again, and whether free-riders actively fill the injured wolf’s role as a hunter. Of course, quantification of foraging-related injuries to predators is difficult to measure and likely underestimated being based mostly on teeth or bones, with very little information available on soft-tissue injuries and recovery rates (Mukherjee & Heithaus, 2013)
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/view ... =usgsnpwrc

The outcome of a dominant animal or animals being injured would likely depend on the composition of the pack. Wolf packs are made up of a dominant pair, their offspring, and occasionally an unrelated wolf. A wolf that is "badly injured" may succumb to infection and die. The below would occur.
What is the fate of a "fractured pack"?

A fractured pack's, or pack's whose key members have died, fate depends on just which members have died. Because the heart of a pack is the breeding pair (dominant pair), the death of all offspring would just result in the pair breeding again next year. If one member of the breeding pair dies, the other surviving breeding member may hold the territory until a new mate arrives. If the breeding pair is lost, the remaining members may disperse and become part of the "floating" population, unless they are pups which would die from starvation or from predators.
http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=34625

If just one wolf of the dominant pair was injured, I'm not sure what would happen. Depending on how bad the injury was and whether or not the wolf became lame or crippled from the incident, its possible another wolf could come into the fold and mate with the remaining dominant animal, or, if an unrelated animal was in the pack, they would mate with the remaining dominant animal if able. If both dominant animals were severely injured and had offspring, I would expect the outcome mentioned in the quote above would occur, in that the offspring would became floaters.
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Re: Injured dominant wolves

Post by LamarWolf » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:05 am

Flamesky wrote:This question is for writing a story. I have read accounts of wolves feeding badly injured pack members. My question is what happens when the injured wolf is a breeding adult, and what happens if both breeding adults are injured. If the dominant male or female wolf in a wolf pack becomes sick or injured and can't hunt, will he or she be fed by the other wolves? If both dominant wolves are injured, would another wolf take charge of the pack or would they be killed by a rival pack?
In Yellowstone this happened when 696F got a injured shoulder so her sister took over the pack. The shoulder injury wasn't that bad but it did cause an effect on the pack with one wolf becoming more dominant.
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Re: Injured dominant wolves

Post by Kereudio » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:57 am

LamarWolf wrote:
Flamesky wrote:This question is for writing a story. I have read accounts of wolves feeding badly injured pack members. My question is what happens when the injured wolf is a breeding adult, and what happens if both breeding adults are injured. If the dominant male or female wolf in a wolf pack becomes sick or injured and can't hunt, will he or she be fed by the other wolves? If both dominant wolves are injured, would another wolf take charge of the pack or would they be killed by a rival pack?
In Yellowstone this happened when 696F got a injured shoulder so her sister took over the pack. The shoulder injury wasn't that bad but it did cause an effect on the pack with one wolf becoming more dominant.
I'm very interested to know more about this incident, do you perhaps have a source?
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