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- Severe inbreeding depression in a wild wolf (Canis lupus) population

Severe inbreeding depression in a wild wolf (Canis lupus) population

Olof Liberg1, *, Henrik Andrén1, Hans-Christian Pedersen2, Ha ringkan Sand1, Douglas Sejberg3, Petter Wabakken4, Mikael Åkesson3 & Staffan Bensch3

1Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, SE-73091 Riddarhyttan, Sweden
2Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tungasletta 2, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway
3Department of Ecology, University of Lund, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden
4Hedmark University College, Faculty of Forestry and Wildlife Management, N-2480 Koppang, Norway

*Author for correspondence [email protected]

The difficulty of obtaining pedigrees for wild populations has hampered the possibility of demonstrating inbreeding depression in nature. In a small, naturally restored, wild population of grey wolves in Scandinavia, founded in 1983, we constructed a pedigree for 24 of the 28 breeding pairs established in the period 1983-2002. Ancestry for the breeding animals was determined through a combination of field data (snow tracking and radio telemetry) and DNA microsatellite analysis. The population was founded by only three individuals. The inbreeding coefficient F varied between 0.00 and 0.41 for wolves born during the study period. The number of surviving pups per litter during their first winter after birth was strongly correlated with inbreeding coefficients of pups (R2=0.39, p

Keywords: inbreeding depression; lethal equivalents; pedigree; conservation biology; wolf

Biology Letters Volume 2005, Number 1 / 22 March 2005, p 17–20. © 2005 The Royal Society

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