Dispersion

In search of a new habitat and partner they leave for areas unknown to them, which is called dispersion. Wolves have a markedly territorial character; they mark the space they inhabit by urine, excrements, by scratching the soil and howling. By defending their living space from other wolves, they secure their prey. An alien wolf may enter the territory of a pack, but if found by the pack, he will almost surely be killed and sometimes eaten up. The same may happen to a dog entering the wolves\' territory, because they will probably see him as an alien wolf.

Consequently, in wolf populations not affected by human activities as much as 65 to 70 per cent of the total wolf mortality are caused by other wolves. This is another mechanism for self-regulation of the wolf population.If a wolf in dispersion succeeded in finding a space not inhabited by other wolf and containing enough prey, and if at least one young, not related wolf of opposite sex enters the same space, this will result in a new pack. After they come closer and socialize with one another, a new pair of wolves starts marking their new space with great intensity; they mate next winter and raise their first litter in spring (Mech, 1970; Mech and assoc., 1998).

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