Home range, activity and movements of a wolf pack in central Italy

Authors

  • P. Ciucci,

    1. Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Viale dell'Università 32, Roma 00185, Italy
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  • L. Boitani,

    Corresponding author
    1. Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Viale dell'Università 32, Roma 00185, Italy
      *e-mail: boitani@pan.bio.uniromal.it
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  • F. Francisci,

    1. Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Viale dell'Università 32, Roma 00185, Italy
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    • 1

      Via S. Marta 23, Firenze, Italy

  • G. Andreoli

    1. Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Viale dell'Università 32, Roma 00185, Italy
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    • 2

      Agriconsulting S.p.A., Via L. Luciani 41, Roma, Italy


*e-mail: boitani@pan.bio.uniromal.it

Abstract

Home range, habitat use, activity and movement patterns were studied in a pack of wolves in a mountainous region of Abruzzo, central Italy from June 1986 to March 1987. The home range, estimated by the minimum convex polygon from 421 radio locations, measured 197 km2 and comprised several infrastructures and areas of human presence, including four garbage dumps and two offal sites. Core areas, calculated by the harmonic mean method, were located toward the centre of the home range where human disturbance and road density were lowest but forest cover was highest. During the time-span of the study, home-range use and movement patterns suggested a marked centrality in spatial behaviour and traditionality in retreat areas year-round, both during pup-rearing season and the following months. In addition, by being essentially nocturnal, resident wolves appeared to adopt tactics of temporal segregation from people to exploit food resources safely in the proximity of human settlements. Overall activity correlated with distance travelled (r = 0.90, P << 0.001), and corresponded to cyclic nocturnal movements from retreat to feeding areas. Wolf movement rate between 20:00 and 04:00 h averaged 2.5 km/h but varied up to about 8 km/h, and daily distance travelled (x̄= 27 km/night; range 17–38 km/night) mostly depended on the location of traditional feeding sites. Home-range configuration, habitat use, activity and movements all appeared highly integrated so as to represent the most functional compromise between avoidance of human inteference and exploitation of the available food resources.

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