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The papers and studies were found through an extensive search of the literature. Three search engines were used; Scopus, Web of Science, and Animal Behavior Abstracts. Within these search engines, I used multiple search terms (Table 1). After all duplicate papers were removed and a preliminary screening of each paper based on the title and abstract, (about Canids hunting, or factors that influence it), ninety-one papers were found. These papers were then examined with in depth reading and narrowed down to those that provided information that related to this literature review by describing hunting of wolves or wild dogs and factors that may influence it.
Papers that mentioned Canis but lacked any information regarding hunting or factors influencing it were disregarded. Additionally, some papers were found through the perusal of other papers, based on what was cited from those papers. Hunting Structure Pack structure during the hunt is a major intrinsic factor that influences the success of the hunt.
The hunting structure of the group is determined by two main components: how the prey is selected and who will attack.
One field of thought is that hunting involves only three steps: search (the predator searches for the prey), pursue (predator chases the prey) and capture (predator successfully obtains prey) (Holling 1965). Another idea comes from MacNulty et al, 2007, which states that there are four, which includes harassing or bothering the prey, particularly when the prey fights back (Fig 1). These aspects of the hunt are influenced by outside forces, such as the prey type and the landscape, and the inner set up of the pack, with multiple factors influencing every step.
Sometimes, when hunting prey that is a mother and its offspring, the pack will split into smaller groups so that some will distract the mother, and others will chase off and catch the offspring, which has often been observed in wild dogs (Creel and Creel, 1995). There may be instances where one group attacks and others watch and wait, or can join in if needed (Mech, 2009). When hunting a herd of prey, the attacking group may select one individual and chase them away from the rest of the herd (MacNulty, 2007), sometimes into an ambush.
When a pack splits, there is usually one individual prey who is chosen to be attacked (Fig. 2). The rest of the pack ignores the remaining prey in its quest for the targeted prey, leading to a full attack on one individual instead of multiples being attacked by only a few wolves (Estes and Goddard, 1967). This allows the pack to focus its efforts on one individual which increases the likelihood of the prey being caught (Estes and Goddard, 1967). This was based on several observations where wolves and wild dogs split and attacked separate prey, but were less likely to capture the prey, as opposed to working together (Estes and Goddard, 1967; MacNulty, 2007). While wolves do rely on speed to catch their prey, the individuals in the group not involved in the chase can still help by either cornering the prey or attacking it which is shown in Fig. 3. (Coulter and Mech, 1971). Other wolves may trail behind the chasers and “cut corners” to force the prey in a certain direction (Kühme, 1965). Age, body size, and the type of hunting all influence whether a hunt will be successful along with the environment the predators are hunting on (Davies-Mostert, 2013).
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