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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 →

Support Raincoast’s Wolf Program

Latest News

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…

A Sitka Spruce shows how much money we've already raised: $150,000.

On our way to securing the Nadeea tenure

We launched the campaign to raise $500,000 to purchase the Nadeea commercial hunting tenure the end of November. Now on behalf of Raincoast and our Coastal First Nations partners, I’m happy to report significant progress…

A wolverine stands in a stream below a log overhead, with a salmon head hanging from its mouth.

Next step for safeguarding large carnivores in the Great Bear Rainforest

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, with the support of Coastal First Nations, has struck a deal to buy a fourth trophy hunting licence in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. The exclusive commercial licence covers an area of more than 2,300 square kilometres of rich habitat for large carnivores, including grizzlies, black bears, Spirit bears, wolves…

No hunting symbol, depicting silhouette of man, rifle, wolf and grizzly bear

Province quietly extends public consultation period on Peace Region grizzly and wolf hunt proposals

Press Release: BC government has extended its public feedback period to January 31, for proposals to increase trophy killing of wolves and grizzly bears.