Indirect effects of predator control: Examining predator habitat selection and competitive interactions following wolf control in northeastern Alberta

Global demand for natural resources is resulting in unprecedented landscape change. In northeastern Alberta, woodland caribou persistence is threatened by habitat loss associated with natural resource extraction, and increased predaiion by grey wolves as a result, due to their ability to capitalize upon landscape disturbance via increased movement on linear features. Wolf control via culling is a common wildlife management strategy to conserve woodland caribou. While previous research has sought to understand prey response to wolf control, indirect impacts on the ecological community have not been measured to the same extent, despite evidence to suggest that predator control has repercussions at multiple trophic levels. Using camera trap data collected discontinuously between 2011 and 2019, this project will examine the impacts ·of a government wolf control program beginning in 2016 on predator habitat selection and competitive interactions. This project will provide critical information to the partner organization on the community-wide effects of predator control in an increasingly
human-disturbed landscape, and help to inform woodland caribou recovery.

Katherine Baillie-David
Faculty Supervisor: 
John Volpe
British Columbia
Partner University: