British Columbia wolves have taste for salmon, new study finds

Financial Post
Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A team of biologists has discovered “Canada’s newest marine mammal” — the wolf. A new Canadian study of the feeding patterns of British Columbia wolf packs found that they would rather fish than hunt. The study found that wolves routinely turn up their noses at deer when they can catch spawning salmon. In part, it’s safer: Wolves can suffer crippling injuries hunting deer and elk.

Chris Darimont’s research team spent four years collecting and analyzing some 4,000 grey wolf droppings. During spring and summer, the wolves’ diet is at least 90% deer meat, the study found. But during the fall salmon run, wolves switch to salmon. “Wolves are really good hunters of salmon. It’s just bizarre to watch,” said Mr. Darimont, who does his research at the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

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Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.