SUMMER FOOD HABITS OF GRAY WOLVES IN THE BOREAL FOREST OF THE LAC JAQUES-CARTIER HIGHLANDS, QUÉBEC
As part of a larger study on the ecology of gray wolves (Canis lupis) of the Lac Jacques-Cartier highlands, Québec, the 1996-1997 summer diet of two wolf packs was determined by examining undigested animal remains in 1,621 scats (Malbaie pack: n = 1,371; Grands-Jardins pack: n = 250). Concern about the fate of a small reintroduced woodland caribou herd stimulated this study. Log-linear analysis performed on the percent volume of prey in scats revealed significant diet variation between packs and years. Corrections for prey digestibility were computed to estimate the biomass and relative numbers of prey eaten. The Malbaie pack consumed more moose (Alces alces) than Grands-Jardins pack in both years (Malbaie: 95.9-97.3 % total biomass; Grands-Jardins: 65.2-67.9 %). The Grands-Jardins pack consumed more beaver (Castor canadensis) than the Malabaie pack in both years (Malabaie: 1.5-1.9 %; Grands-Jardins 13.3-33.2 %). In 1997, consumption of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) increased significantly, especially in the Grands-Jardins pack (1996: 1.1 %; 1997: 17.4 %). We suggest that the functional response of wolves to the Lac Jaques-Cartier highlands in summer (i.e., the consumption of different prey in relation to their relative availability) is characteristic of a type III curve which could explain the variations observed in food habits.
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