Wolves may generate cascading effects through changes in coyote distribution. 

These changes benefit hares and foxes, while also reducing the deer mouse population in some years. Journal of Mammalogy

Article Source: greatlakesecho.org Foxes join #TeamWolf versus #TeamCoyote

By Karen Hopper Usher 

It’s wolves vs coyotes vs foxes, and the effects of this competition are felt on down the food chain to deer mice, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy

Read full article click HERE: It’s what scientists call a “mesopredator release,” Flagel said. The mesopredator (medium-sized predator) is released from the conditions that keep it in check, and the effects are felt on down the food chain.

But now the wolves are coming back and there’s evidence of cascading effects caused by their return.

It shows the reversal of the effects of coyote taking over the eastern United States, Flagel said.

“What we’re seeing here is gray wolf recovery can benefit small carnivores and rabbits and hares by changing or redistributing coyotes, and also deer mice decrease in some years,” Flagel said.

This isn’t the first study that has looked at the impacts of wolves on our ecosystems, said David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “But anything that adds to enhanced understanding is beneficial as we’re making management decisions.”

And it’s not just wolves that are coming back in the upper Midwest, MacFarland said. Bears are also more common than they were.

“Large carnivore communities are doing better than they have in the past hundred years,” he said. Meanwhile, large carnivores in other parts of the world are in “significant peril.”
Scientific reaction to the study has so far been positive, Flagel said. He’s been presenting his findings at wildlife conferences.

Flagel’s team was the first do a study like this at such a fine scale, Flagel said, and that’s important because that’s where the wolf, fox and coyote interactions are happening. 

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Featured image by John E Marriott

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