The Shy Giant of the Forest

Joel Berger

in The Better to Eat You With

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226043630
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226043647 | DOI:
The Shy Giant of the Forest

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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It had taken two and a half years for wolves to arrive in Grand Teton from Yellowstone. Neither the public nor the park or state wildlife authorities knew they were in Jackson Hole. The primal hunters had yet to be heard or seen. Would their prey—moose, elk, bison, and mule deer—know the difference between coyotes and wolves, or were all wild canids just different-sized versions of each other? This chapter describes a study on the survival tactics associated with the coming of wolves. The study focused on Wyoming moose. The working assumption is that predator-naive individuals are less fearful than predator-savvy counterparts. If true, and either naive moose or elk fail to learn, then the claim that they will be decimated will be correct. On the other hand, individual elk or moose that acquire, retain, and use knowledge about predators to promote their survival will, by definition, learn.

Keywords: Jackson Hole; Grand Teton; moose; species reintroduction; predators; prey; survival; wolves; Wyoming; elk

Chapter.  9160 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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