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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.

Our Vision

Wolf swimming in the water

Raincoast and its community partners continue to gain scientific understanding about wolves from the Great Bear Rainforest and across BC.  Our vision is to ensure that  wolves continue their wild ways amidst an uncertain future.  They face challenges against which they have no evolved defences – human persecution, climate change, industrial forestry, trophy hunting, increasing marine traffic, exotic diseases. 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?

Informed advocacy

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.

Lethal wolf management

Stop the war on Wolves advertisement

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. 

Wolf Research Papers →

Wolf Reports and Books →

Wolf interviews with Raincoast Scientists →

Support Raincoast’s Wolf Program

Latest News

Takaya/Staqeya stands on Discovery Island.

It’s time to take action for wolves in British Columbia

BC’s wolves are killed through a variety of means, most of which are gratuitous, inhumane and unethical. These include legal hunting and trapping, as well as government sanctioned culling, the latter using such techniques as aerial gunning and neck snares…

Four wolves walk up a hill following a narrow path, research maps superimposed on top.

Ecology and Evolution: Functional response of wolves to human development across boreal North America

Previous research on how wolves are affected by human development have been limited in scope and location and the results were mixed. Wolves adapted in a range of ways depending on contextual factors like road or cutblock density. Research undertaken by a team of conservation scientists, including Paul Paquet of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, endeavoured to […]

The Sitka donation-o-meter is at $313,000!

Update: closing in on securing the Nadeea tenure

We now have bids on a number of pieces and we’ve sold limited editions prints. Thanks to numerous donations, large and small, we have now raised $313,182…

Journal of Mammalogy cover for research published on mismeasured risks of poaching due to bias.

Mismeasured mortality: correcting estimates of wolf poaching in the United States

This research tests and rejects the long-held idea that data lost when known animals disappear were unbiased, under conditions common to most, if not all, studies using marked animals. Published government estimates are affected by the biases discovered. And so government estimates of systemically underestimating risks of poaching…

Achiever rests in the water, while a bear sniffs the air in the foreground on an outcropping of land.

What next for coastal carnivore conservation?

In Victoria and Vancouver: We have teamed up with renowned wildlife photographer John E Marriott to present an evening of Tall Tales, Long Lenses and Wildlife Conservation. Don’t miss it…