Minnesota, USA
Voyageurs Wolf Project

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is a research collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park that explores wolf ecology to benefit the management and conservation of wolves, their prey, and the southern boreal ecosystem.

The project was started to address one of the biggest knowledge gaps in wolf ecology—what do wolves do during the summer? The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the summer ecology of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem in northern Minnesota.

 

Who's Involved
Voyageurs Wolf Project
University of Minnesota
Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
National Park Service
Profits from our shop have been used for this project
A NatureSpy Supported Project
What Voyageurs Wolf Project have said..
''This camera footage is a perfect way to both entertain, engage, and educate the public about wolf ecology and the ecosystems that wolves lives in. In this way, NatureSpy has helped us to couple cutting-edge wolf research with highly-effective outreach and education''
Visit Voyageurs Wolf Project

What's the project doing?
How to study wolves
How NatureSpy is helping?
  • Specifically, the Voyageurs Wolf Project aims to understand the predation behaviour and reproductive ecology (e.g., number of pups born, where wolves have dens, etc) of wolves during the summer.
  • Throughout the winter, wolves hunt as packs and kill large prey such as moose, but once wolf pups are born in the spring, wolves become more solitary predators, returning to and from the den or rendezvous site between hunting bouts. During this time, wolves primarily hunt and kill small prey such as beavers and deer fawns but little is known about wolf predation at this time because of the difficulties and challenges of studying wolf predation during summer—it takes a lot of time in the field, specialized experience, and focused dedication!
  • The Voyageurs Wolf Project has developed methods to study the summer ecology of wolves using a combination of GPS-collars and remote video camera technology.
  • Every year, the Voyageurs Wolf Project fits 10-15 wolves with GPS-collars that take locations every 20 minutes. Once the wolves are fitted with GPS-collars, they are then intensively searched for ‘clusters’ of GPS-locations, i.e., areas where each wolf has remained stationary for >20 minutes. From search efforts they learn where wolves are killing prey and the locations of den and rendezvous sites for pups.
  • The team are also using remote video camera technology, or trail cams, to observe and document hard-to-observe predation behaviour, estimate wolf pup survival, and assess wolf pack composition. By doing all of this, they are able to connect critical facets of wolf behaviour during the summer to important ecological factors, prey populations, and human interactions.
  • Given initial results of the teams research—which was described as “a breakthrough” by international wolf experts—there is an an unparalleled opportunity to provide critical information for the successful conservation and management of wolves, their prey, and the southern boreal ecosystem. This work benefits not only Minnesota’s iconic Northwoods, but boreal systems around the globe from North America to Asia.
  • We've donated 10 trail cameras that will help the team document hard-to-observe predation behaviour, estimate wolf pup survival, and assess wolf pack composition.
  • Moreover, these cameras and the video footage they capture are integral to the Voyageurs Wolf Project’s outreach efforts on social media and in the press. Their trail camera footage has already garnered millions of views online and with these additional cameras from NatureSpy, this is hoped to continue!
  • This camera footage is a perfect way to both entertain, engage, and educate the public about wolf ecology and the ecosystems that wolves lives in. In this way, NatureSpy has helped the project to couple cutting-edge wolf research with highly-effective outreach and education.
Camera Used
When after wolves, you need sensitive cameras - the Browning Spec Ops Advantage means the cameras stay hidden and take fantastic video quality.
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Wild About Wolves?
We support a wide range of projects around the world that either focus on wolves specifically or pick up lots of cool wolf images and videos along with their other captures. Head to our project pages to discover more.
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