I’m still revising Suicide is for Mortals. It’s a compulsion and a coping mechanism. Coping for what, is difficult to explain. Here is a little snippet from the book, via Scanlon Ness’s POV:
This is the evolutionary juggling act of every animal species in the wild: kill without being killed. Find plenty of food without exposing yourself to predators. It’s a constant tug-of-war between the threat of starvation and the threat of violence, whether it be predation or competition. There’s no such thing as life without risks. An individual can simplify the balance of risk by surviving on little food, but a species cannot survive without offspring, and cubs mean more mouths to feed and more habitat to defend.
Sometimes, a cub will stray outside the pack’s territory and need to be located and retrieved. The pack could arguably prevent such security breaches from recurring by killing the offending cub, but a pack cannot afford to make a habit of killing its young. This is especially salient if the species is slow to breed.