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Invasion of eastern Greenland by the high arctic wolf Canis lupus arctos

Marquard-Petersen, Ulf
Wildlife biology 2011 v.17 no.4 pp. 383-388
Canis lupus, biomass, hunters, risk, ungulates, weight-of-evidence, wolves, Greenland, North America
The high arctic wolf Canis lupus arctos was exterminated from eastern Greenland during the 1930s by commercial hunters and was considered absent for 40 years. In this study, I examined the recolonisation of east Greenland by wolves from north Greenland through an invasion that began in 1979. The invasion successfully led to the establishment of a new population, because a wolf pair arrived into the core historical wolf range followed by one or two wolves during the next four years. Weight of evidence suggested that the invaders arrived into east Greenland through unintentional, human-mediated jump dispersal. I present two cases of long-distance dispersals by lone wolves following military sled patrols in northern Greenland. Wolves had likely failed to establish a viable population in east Greenland for 40 years for the following reasons: 1) a low propagule pressure, 2) invasions were high risk, occurring through vast areas of the lowest, large ungulate prey biomass reported for wolves in North America, and 3) only singletons made it into eastern Greenland.