Conflicts with Wolves Can Originate from Their Parent Packs

Diederik van Liere*, Natasa Siard, Pim Martens, Dusanka Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Transmission of experience about prey and habitat supports the survival of next generation of wolves. Thus, the parent pack (PP) can affect whether young migrating wolves (loners) kill farm animals or choose to be in human environments, which generates human–wolf conflicts. Therefore, we researched whether the behavior of loners resembles PP behavior. After being extinct, 22 loners had entered the Netherlands between 2015 and 2019. Among them, 14 could be DNA-identified and linked with their PPs in Germany. Some loners were siblings. We assessed the behavior of each individual and PP through a structured Google search. PP behavior was determined for the loner’s rearing period. Similarity between loner and PP behavior was significant (p = 0.022) and applied to 10 of 14 cases: like their PPs, three loners killed sheep and were near humans, five killed sheep and did not approach humans, while two loners were unproblematic, they did not kill sheep, nor were they near humans. Siblings behaved similarly. Thus, sheep killing and proximity to humans may develop during early-life experiences in the PP. However, by negative reinforcement that can be prevented. New methods are suggested to achieve that. As a result, new generations may not be problematic when leaving PPs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1801
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • human-animal conflict
  • wolf behavior
  • migrating wolves
  • sheep killing
  • early-life experiences
  • bold wolves
  • learning
  • depredation
  • deterrence
  • PREY
  • DIET

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