Possible Use of Foresight, Understanding, and Planning by Wolves Hunting Muskoxen

  • L. David Mech
Keywords: Canis lupus, cooperative hunting, foresight in wolves, muskoxen, Ovibos moschatus, planning in wolves, strategy, understanding in wolves, wolf


On Ellesmere Island in 2006, arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) were observed making a two-pronged approach to a herd of muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and, on another occasion, ambushing muskoxen. Both observations seemed to provide evidence that the wolves were using foresight, understanding, and planning. Although the possible use of insight and purposiveness has been documented in captive wolves, the present report is one of the few to document the possibility that freeranging wolves use these other three mental processes.