Opponents and Bystander post-conflict affiliative interactions in a captive family pack of Arctic wolves — ASN Events

Opponents and Bystander post-conflict affiliative interactions in a captive family pack of Arctic wolves (#886)

Rachel Dale 1 , Simona Cafazzo 1 , Martina Lazzaroni 1 , Sarah Marshall-Pescini 1 2
  1. Wolf Science Center, Ernstbrunn, Vienna, Austria
  2. Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Post-conflict Affiliation Interactions between opponents (PAI or âreconciliationâ) and Bystander Post-conflict Affiliative Interactions between a bystander and a victim of an aggression (BPAI) have been extensively studied in primates but only superficially in other mammals. In wolves, two studies used the post-conflict (PC)/matched control (MC) method and found affiliative interactions between opponents occurring more in PCs than MCs, concluding that reconciliation occurs (Cordoni & Palagi 2008: Baan et al. 2014). However, in the strict sense âreconciliationâ occurs only if PAI reduce the likelihood of re-aggression. Only one of the two studies found this to be case. BPAI have also been observed in wolves (Palagi & Cordoni 2009; Baan et al. 2014), but only in one study BPAI decreased the likelihood of re-aggression.  Considering these conflicting results, we tested the function of both PAI and BPAI in a captive family pack of 19 Arctic wolves. Using independent measures of dyadic rank and affiliative relationships, we investigated whether these factors affect the occurrence of PAI and BPAI. PAI occurred sooner in PCs than MCs (Wilcoxon: z=6.5, p<0.001) and were more likely to be initiated by the victim (Mann-Whitney: z=2.18, p=0.03). PAI reduced the likelihood of re-aggression (glmm: z=3.2, p=0.002) and re-directed aggression (glmm: z=2.65, p=0.01). Affiliation did not affect the likelihood of PAI occurring, but these tended to be more likely when the victim was dominant to the aggressor (glmm: z=1.99, p=0.054). BPAI occurred sooner in PCs than MCs (Wilcoxon: z=7.87, p<0.001) and were as likely to be initiated by the victim than the bystander. BPAI reduced the likelihood of re-directed aggression (glmm: z=3.99, p=0.0002) and of bystander aggressions on the victim (glmm: z=3.85,p=0.0003). BPAI  occurred more often between individuals with a high affiliative score (glmm: z=2.88, p=0.006). We discuss these results in light of current knowledge of post-conflict behaviour.

  1. Baan C., Bergmüller R., Smith D.W., Molnar B. 2014. Conflict management in free-ranging wolves, Canis lupus. Animal Behaviour 90, 327-334
  2. Cordoni G. & Palagi E. 2008. Reconciliation in wolves (Canis lupus): new evidence for a comparative perspective. Ethology 114, 298-308.
  3. Palagi E. & Cordoni G. 2009. Postconflict third-party affiliation in Canis lupus: do wolves share similarities with the great apes? Animal Behaviour 78, 979-986.