Trapping Conservation and Self-Reliance News

Beaver: Evidence that wolves use cooperative ambush strategies to hunt beavers
Oct 12, 2023 07:52 ET


Cooperative hunting can confer fitness benefits by increasing foraging efficiency. We documented a breeding pair of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem of Minnesota, USA that appeared to periodically use cooperative ambushing to hunt beavers. The breeding pair primarily chose to wait-in-ambush close to one another (< 65 m) but on different beaver feeding trails, which appears advantageous because: (1) feeding trails are where beavers are most active and vulnerable on land, (2) the probability that the pair encounters a beaver is increased, and (3) either wolf can quickly assist the other in killing a beaver. The cooperative ambush strategy these wolves used appears rare for most social Carnivora but we hypothesize this behavior is widespread in areas of wolf-beaver sympatry. This observation demonstrates that novel insights into the natural history of even well-studied predators are possible when technological advancements are combined with intensive fieldwork.

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