Determining juvenile survival and recruitment rates is essential to assess status and viability of animal populations. Currently, the demographic attributes of juvenile carnivores, specifically wolves (Canis lycaon), are poorly known but of considerable conservation interest. We measured survival and dispersal rates for 51 juvenile (age 3.5–31 weeks) wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada, from 2004 to 2005, using implantable very high frequency transmitters. Monthly pup survival was high (0.970, 95% CI = 0.951–0.990) and constant from June to November, and most pup mortality was from natural causes. Pups dispersed as early as age 15 weeks, and monthly dispersal rates were high for young pups (min. = 0.008, 95% CI = 0.000–0.019; max. = 0.030, 95% CI = 0.010–0.050). We failed to detect any influence of pack or litter size on pup survival or probability of dispersal. Radiotelemetry offers an individual-based monitoring technique capable of providing direct assessment of wolf pup survival and movements, with rigorous estimation of survival and dispersal rates and quantification of cause-specific mortality.
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Vol. 72 • No. 4