A recent advertisement on page 44 of the February 25 edition of the Yukon News tells us “two wolves kill 27 moose per year.”
I did not know this.
A quick search of the Yukon government’s Department of Environment website revealed the Yukon wolf population is estimated to be between 4,000 and 4,500, and that the average wolf pack size is eight animals.
A wolf pack kills a moose every four to six days in the winter, when they have the advantage over their prey.
Winter predation rates vary, depending on the size of the pack, between 20 to 50 moose per pack.
The Yukon moose population is estimated to be between 65,000 and 70,000.
If I take the average of these numbers and assume the summer predation rate is half of the winter rate, 531 packs of wolves take 35 moose each in winter (six months) and 18 moose each in summer (six months) for a total of 28,152 moose per year. According to the ad, 2,125 pairs of wolves take 27 moose each year for a total of 57,375 moose per year.
My estimate is, admittedly, rough and does not take into account regional variation in wolf density or different prey preferences in some regions.
However, there is a considerable difference in my rough estimate and the numbers suggested by the person(s) who placed the ad.
I have indicated the source of my information, but the anonymous person(s) who placed this ad have not given a source or even their identity so that they could be questioned on the accuracy of their figures.
I believe the information in the ad is misleading and needs to be questioned.