A Comparative Study of Activity Levels of Three Different Groups of Canis lupus: Puppies, Yearlings and Adults
Askins, Renee E.
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The intent of this investigation is to compare activity levels in different age groups of wolves and to examine the relationship of those levels to the establishment of social rank. This study was executed at the North American Wildlife Park Foundation in Battle Ground, Indiana. Study subjects included a captive pack of 13 individuals (4 yearlings and 9 adults), and 4 puppies, progeny of the individuals in the pack. Literature supports the theory that activity levels (particularly aggression levels) increase when social rank is unsettled. In light of this information, it would seem probable that as individuals mature and ranking order becomes more established, activity levels would decrease. Thus , it is hypothesized that puppies will illustrate the highest level of activity (of the three groups) due to their undetermined social rank. The data collected in this study support this hypothesis. On a linear scale, puppies illustrated the highest amount of daily activity per individual, yearling wolves the second highest and adult wolves the lowest. The puppies' high activity level.during the post-natal period indicates that they are in the process of formulating a social ranking order. Determination. of this ranking order is of particular importance because it would allow higher ranking individuals an adaptive advantage during the first 9 months, the period of highest mortality.