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Free-ranging wolves

Since 2014 we have been studying free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus italicus) in the Italian Apennines. We are monitoring three packs of wolves using wildlife trail cameras and wolf howling and recording social behaviours through direct observations. The data collection takes place every year between August and January when the packs are quite stable in the rendezvous sites and it is possible to observe the subjects. The data collected will allow us to investigate the social dynamics in packs of free-ranging wolves: 1. presence of a dominance hierarchy; 2. correlations among dominance, affiliation, and proximity; 3. development and function of play behaviour in litters; 4. conflict management strategies. Studying behaviour of wolves in the wild is very challenging; however, given the paucity of data from these animals, the possibility of observing the interactions between pack mates, even if during a limited season, will greatly help our understanding of this species’ social life.

Project Leaders
Sarah Marshall-Pescini
Friederike Range

Project collaborators
Martina Lazzaroni
Martina Russignan
Massimo Colombari