Coastal Wolves: Science and Conservation

Photo by Steve Woods.

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 not help caribou recovery. 

Wolf Research Papers →

Wolf Reports and Books →

Support Raincoast’s Wolf Program

Latest News

A wolf prances across the ice with all four feet frozen in time floating above the ice, a chart floating in the distance.

Recommendations towards greater transparency in the science, science communication, and values-driven processes of natural resource management

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A new paper, published by a team of researchers including Raincoast scientists, dives into the tangle of cognitive bias, institutional agendas, human interests, and pays special attention to the role of undisclosed value judgments.
Wolf School with Heather Bryan.

Wolf School Episode 3 with biologist Dr. Heather Bryan

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After our fantastic second episode with the Wolf Conservation Center’s Regan Downey last week, our next wolf school session will feature another inspiring scientist and educator, Dr. Heather Bryan. Now an Assistant Professor in Ecosystem Science and Management at the University of Northern BC, Heather has played a critical role in Raincoast’s work on coastal wolves and bears for many years…
A wolf walks across the beach in the early morning light, with figure 1 in the foreground.

Research: Addressing poor statistical support for wolf control and maternal penning as conservation measures for endangered mountain caribou

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The scientists looked closely at the data provided in a previous study that examined how 18 caribou populations responded to different treatments including wolf culls, maternal penning, moose reduction, and combinations thereof, as well as controls. There were important errors in the statistical methods associated with that prior study…
A darkly coloured wolf with black highlights walks across the sand in the intertidal zone.

Current situational analysis of BC wolves

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In British Columbia, Canada, wolves continue to be killed through a variety of means. These include legal recreational hunting and trapping. Our goal is to stop the hunting and trapping of BC’s wolves. Our initial initiative includes educating the public about the biology, behavior and ecology of wolves and their current situation in British Columbia…