The isolated gray wolf (Canis lupus) population of the Scandinavian Peninsular is suffering from inbreeding depression. We studied dispersal of 35 wolves fitted with very high frequency (20) or Global Positioning System–global system for mobile (15) radiocollars in the neighboring Finnish wolf population. The growing wolf population in Finland has high numbers of dispersing individuals that could potentially disperse into the Scandinavian population. About half (53%) of the dispersing wolves moved total distances that could have reached the Scandinavian population if they had been straight-line moves, but because of the irregular pattern of movements, we detected no wolves successfully dispersing to the Scandinavian population. Dispersal to the Scandinavian population was also limited by high mortality of wolves in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) management areas and by dispersal to Bothnian Bay at times of the year when ice was not present. We suggest that when a small wolf population is separated from source populations by distance, barriers, and human exploitation, wildlife managers could promote the population's viability by limiting harvest in the peripheral areas or by introducing wolves from the source population.
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Vol. 73 • No. 3