Compensatory selection for roads over natural linear features by wolves in northern Ontario: Implications for caribou conservation

PloS One
Erica J NewtonJohn M Fryxell


Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Ontario are a threatened species that have experienced a substantial retraction of their historic range. Part of their decline has been attributed to increasing densities of anthropogenic linear features such as trails, roads, railways, and hydro lines. These features have been shown to increase the search efficiency and kill rate of wolves. However, it is unclear whether selection for anthropogenic linear features is additive or compensatory to selection for natural (water) linear features which may also be used for travel. We studied the selection of water and anthropogenic linear features by 52 resident wolves (Canis lupus x lycaon) over four years across three study areas in northern Ontario that varied in degrees of forestry activity and human disturbance. We used Euclidean distance-based resource selection functions (mixed-effects logistic regression) at the seasonal range scale with random coefficients for distance to water linear features, primary/secondary roads/railways, and hydro lines, and tertiary roads to estimate the strength of selection for each linear feature and for several habitat types, while accounting for availability of each feature. Next, we investigated t...Continue Reading


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