The first part of this project is to develop an individual-based model to project wolf populations while exploring the lesser-known processes of the wolf life cycle.. This model focuses on the interactions between the individuals, mostly the change of status between disperser and resident (i.e., belonging to a pack) and the replacement of the reproducing individuals, also accounting for individuals’ relatedness. We also explore four processes of the wolf life cycle whose consequences on population dynamics are still poorly understood: the pack dissolution following the loss of a breeder, the adoption of young dispersers by packs, the establishment of new packs through budding, and the different breeder replacement strategies. This model has now been published.
The aim of this model is to be re-used by ecologists and adapted for their research questions on wolf. The model is coded in R language with the R package NetLogoR to facilitate the implementation of the individual-based model structure. The model is built in a flexible and modular way using sub-models that can be reorganized, removed or new ones can be added. This flexibility allows to mimic the species life-cycle as closely as possible, as well as testing the impact of external processes on the simulated population, such as different management actions that can be added or removed.
The second part of this project is to include in the model, livestock depredation events and different types of legal killings of wolf in response to these attacks. Several scenarios of depredation pattern and legal killing are tested to explore their consequences on the wolf population as well as on the depredation attacks.