Voyageurs Wolf Project: A large litter of pups doesn’t necessarily translate into more wolves in that pack come winter.

The latest from http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org the Half-Moon Pack had the largest litter of any pack this year with 8 pups. The largest litter we have ever documented was 9 pups so this was pretty close to the record!

A large litter of pups does not necessarily translate into more wolves in that pack come winter. The pups have to run the “summer” gauntlet, so to speak, of surviving low food availability/starvation, avoiding disease, and evading predators.

Case-in-point: the Lightfoot Pack had 7 pups last year but all of the pups died. We know that a few pups died of starvation and one was killed by the Half-Moon pack. We are not sure what killed the others but suspect starvation.

And so the Lightfoot Pack remained only a breeding pair this winter despite their large litter. We will see whether the Half-Moon litter fares better!

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is focused on understanding the summer ecology of wolves in and around Voyageurs National Park in the iconic Northwoods border region of Minnesota, USA

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