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Meet the Rare ‘Sea Wolves’ Who Live Off the Ocean and Can Swim for Hours

Sea wolves are marathon swimmers, often crossing miles of ocean between islands as they hunt.



Sea Wolves

(TMU) — The documented flora and fauna on Earth is truly astounding, having evolved from minuscule cells over millennia into the plants and animals we have today, estimated by biologists to be over 8.7 million species.

Although approximately 1 million new species are discovered every year, it is likely that millions more remain undiscovered. In the circle of life Mother Nature created, each found the perfect place to evolve and thrive and contribute to the wellbeing of the whole—resulting in a diversity of species that boggles the mind.

Unfortunately, the evolution of Homo sapiens was too successful, resulting in the continuous extinction of many species and putting many more at risk with the destruction of natural habitat, over fishing, hunting, and pollution.

Learned last night that this split image of a rainforest wolf focused on eating herring eggs has been chosen as one of…

Posted by Ian McAllister on Friday, December 25, 2015

Also under threat are the rarely seen and little known sea wolves, living in isolation in a 21 million acre area, seen as a “bastion of biodiversity” along the Pacific coast of British Columbia. Sea wolves are different from other wolves who have diverse habitats to live and hunt which include the tundra, woodlands, grasslands, forests, and deserts.

British Columbia's coastal sea wolves have never been persecuted to the extent their inland kin have. This has played a…

Posted by Ian McAllister on Friday, November 8, 2019

To gain scientific understanding of “Canada’s newest marine mammal” and create awareness of the fragility of the sea wolves’ existence, Chris Darimont from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation developed the Rainforest Wolf Project.

Ian McAllister, award-winning photographer and Executive Director of, and Canadian wolf biologist Paul Paquet started studying sea wolves in the early 2000s and has provided significant facts about these amazing animals over the past twenty years.

Sea wolves are marathon swimmers, often crossing miles of ocean between islands as they hunt. Their diet consist mostly of salmon but they also hunt seals and river otters and feast on barnacles, clams, herrings, and whale carcasses.

Early morning light breaks through the fog to reveal a wolf fishing for pink salmon. This pack started on salmon in August and are still fishing daily. #savebcwolves

Posted by Ian McAllister on Saturday, October 17, 2015

There’s little doubt these wolves once lived along Washington State’s coast too. Humans wiped them out. They still live on islands in southeast Alaska, but they’re heavily persecuted there,” Paquet said.

Photographer Ian McAllister explains:

“We know from exhaustive DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their continental kin. They are behaviorally distinct, swimming from island to island and preying on sea animals. They are also morphologically distinct—they are smaller in size and physically different from their mainland counterparts.”

To fully capture these magnificent animals in their natural habitat, McAllister swam towards the wolves as they were swimming in his direction, getting close enough to hear them grunting into his snorkel. He took several photos before he moved back into deeper water.

The extraordinary photos shown here make up part of a series from the book The Sea Wolves, Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest, by authors Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read. The book highlights the significance of saving the Great Bear Rain forest, home of several unique creatures.

Smaller than typical grey wolves, these coastal sea wolves are integral to ecosystem function. They live with "two paws in the ocean and two paws on land" on almost exclusively what the ocean provides: clams, salmon, herring roe and even seals and sea lions. URGENT: We need your help to protect the genetically distinct and globally rare sea wolf population of Vancouver Island. The B.C. government is proposing to increase the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island in a misguided attempt to preserve deer populations. Hearing feedback from hundreds of you about the convoluted public comment process on the government site, we have made this process easier for you. Head here to simply add your name to our letter template and express your opposition before January 19th: unique wolves have been subjected to too many government sponsored kill programs over the last one hundred years and were extirpated on most of Vancouver Island, California, Oregon and Washington in the early 20th century. Thank you to each one of you for standing up for one of the most iconic, social, intelligent and family-oriented animals in the world.

Posted by Pacific Wild on Saturday, January 13, 2018

By Jade Small | Creative Commons |

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