Researchers at the Voyageurs Wolf Project, a partnership between the University of Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park, mapped the movements of seven wolf packs throughout the park in summer 2018. The wolves had been collared with GPS monitors that sent data back to scientists eagerly tracking the pack’s movements. Every 20 minutes, each GPS collar dropped a digital breadcrumb so the researchers could plot the animals’ movements. The researchers then went out to visit each place the wolves stopped for more than 20 minutes to see what the pack was up to. We’ve already reported that the researchers discovered the wolves had in some cases been catching fish, but once the tracking was complete, the VWP put together a graphic showing the movements of each pack. That pretty grouping of colored squiggles above is the result. Cliqueish to a level that would put middle schoolers to shame, the territorial behavior of the wolves is there in vivid display with the animals only rarely entering a rival pack’s territory, even for the packs surrounded on all sides by neighboring groups.

“There’s something wolves have, it’s fascinating, where they know where those boundaries are,” said Tom Gable of the VWP. I”t’s scent, right? You’re using just your nose; there are no geographical markers. That’s a really cool part of it.”

You can check out more about the project here