Diet preference and parasites of grey wolves in Riding Mountain National Park of Canada

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Sallows, Tim A.
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I studied the diet preference of grey wolf (Canis lupus) in Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP) of Canada using faecal samples collected from fall 2001 to summer of 2003. Of 369 faeces analyzed and 413 food items identified, elk, (wapiti) (Cervus elaphus) represented 53.93% of wolf diet, followed by: beaver (Castor canadensis) 18.70%; moose (Alces alces) 14.09%; white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) 10.03% and hare 3.25%. In all seasons, elk are the most commonly occurring prey species. Beaver, moose, and white-tailed deer show varying degrees of importance, depending on the season. Three hundred and twenty faecal samples were collected from where free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) traveled in Riding Mountain National Park of Canada (RMNP), between September 2001 and March 2003 and examined for gastrointestinal parasites and Canine Parvovirus (CPV). Most samples (228/320) contained at least 1 parasite. Parasites identified on faecal examinations included Alaria sp. (31/320), Capillaria sp. (6/320), Coccidia sp. (10/320), Cryptosporidium sp. (1/320), Demodex sp. (1/320), Giardia sp. cysts (70/320), Moniezia sp. (3/320), Sarcocysts sp. (120/320,) Taeniid sp. (108/320), Toxascaris sp. (3/320), Toxocara sp. (1/320), Trichuris sp., (11/320). The presence of Canine parvovirus (CPV) was assessed by performing analysis on 106 scats from representative regions of RMNP. All samples were negative for CPV. Prevalence of parasites was consistent across the park landscape, with no significant geographic differences. Slight spatial and temporal trends, when present. can be attributed to collection regime artefacts.