A review of wolf predation in southern Europe: does the wolf prefer wild prey to livestock?
This synthesis of 15 studies published in the last 15 years, on food habits of the wolf in southern Europe, has shown that ungulates have been the main diet component overall. A significant inverse correlation was found between the occurrence of wild and domestic ungulates in the diet. The presence of relatively few wild ungulate species was necessary to reduce predation on livestock. Selection of wild and domestic ungulate prey was influenced mainly by their local abundance, but also by their accessibility. Feeding dependence on rubbish was local and rare. In Italy, the consumption of rubbish/fruit and that of ungulates was significantly negatively correlated. Diet breadth increased as the presence of large prey in the diet decreased. It is suggested that the simultaneous reintroduction of several wild ungulate species is likely to reduce predation on livestock and may prove to be one of the most effective conservation measures.