courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune
by Brian Maffly
A few weeks ago Yellowstone National Park officials discovered the carcass of one of the park’s deadliest wolves, an aging male that scientists knew to be an aggressive bison hunter.
Wolf No. 495 died naturally, but his body bore bruises consistent with injuries inflicted in an encounter with large game, according to Dan MacNulty, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at Utah State University.
The wounds found on No. 495 help explain MacNulty’s latest findings that wolves’ hunting success bears little correlation to the size of the hunting party beyond four wolves. Wolves hunt in groups because taking down large hoofed animals is not only challenging but dangerous.
But if the attack party exceeds four animals, the chance of success levels off, according to research MacNulty and colleagues published this week in the journal Behavioral Ecology.