Coastal Wolves: Science and Conservation
Paul Paquet, Ph.D Senior Scientist
Chris Darimont, Ph.D Research Scientist
Heather Bryan, Ph.D Research Scientist
Where else on the planet do wolves take to the sea, swimming among forested islands to feed themselves? Where else can wolves make more than 75% of their living from marine resources like salmon, beached whales and seals? Where else can we learn how these magnificent animals used to live, before the planet suffered extensive loss of wild wolves in most other places? In the traditional territories of several First Nations – an area known globally as the Great Bear Rainforest – wolves live a unique and precious existence, and one we work hard to safeguard.
We continue to gain scientific understanding about the Great Bear Rainforest’s wolf population, we work with local communities, and we pioneer creative real-world solutions. Our research uncovers basic ecology that until recently had not been documented. Our vision is to ensure that Rainforest Wolves can continue their wild ways amidst an uncertain future marked by challenges against which they have no evolved defences – climate change, industrial forestry, fisheries, trophy hunting, increasing marine traffic, exotic diseases, and others. We must consider carefully what wolves require in the face of these threats.
- Where are the wolves in this vast archipelago landscape?
- What feeds them?
- How many of them move through these forests?
- What are the details of their evolutionary history?
All of our conservation recommendations are grounded in rigorous, peer-reviewed research. Our partnerships with local communities, such as the Heiltsuk Nation of Bella Bella, have granted us unique insight into the lives of wolves. This partnership has the additional benefit of simultaneously fostering renewed cultural interest in wolves. And where we can, we go ‘straight to solution’ in applied conservation. In 2005 and again in 2011, in an unprecedented move, supporters helped us buy out – and extinguish – the commercial rights to trophy hunt wolves and other carnivores in a massive portion of this landscape.
Salmon Carnivore Project
Despite the needs of wildlife, fisheries are managed only for humans. The Salmon Carnivore Project uses DNA, isotopes and hormones to examine the relationship between salmon abundance and the health of coastal grizzlies.
In BC and Alberta, wolf management is a pseudonym for aerial gunning, shooting, poising, strangling and suffocating wolves at the hands of provincial governments. These actions are premised on scapegoating wolves for the decline of caribou. In truth, caribou decline is the result of decades of habitat destruction by oil & gas, mining and logging industries, and an unwillingness to protect old forests from roads and motorized recreation. Learn why killing wolves will never stop or revere caribou recovery.
Maintaining Ethical Standards during Conservation Crises
Raincoast scientists publish response to paper advocating Alberta’s wolf cull in the name of caribou recovery. It addresses the ethics and science of the approach and methods that were published in Canadian Journal of Zoology, November 2015…
Wolf and caribou management backgrounder
Raincoast’s Dr. Paul Paquet provides an overview on the fallacy of killing wolves to recover caribou…
Wolf murder Canadian style continues as if it’s conservation
Marc Bekoff/Psychology Today
An earlier murder escapade in Alberta didn’t work and there’s no reason to assume this one will…
AVAAZ Petition launched to stop the Alberta wolf cull
The Alberta government and its resource industries have destroyed the habitat for endangered caribou. Rather than address this problem, they have chosen to scapegoat wolves…
Your voices against the wolf cull
Read some of the letters written to Minister Steve Thomson, Premier Christy Clark and BC MLAs, in opposition to the government’s wolf cull. Send us yours…