Following the Last Wild Wolves

Following the Last Wild Wolves

Ian McAllister

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 1553655877

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For twenty years, Ian McAllister has explored the rugged north coast of British Columbia, known as the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the last places on the planet where wolves live in an undisturbed way. This book describes McAllister's experiences over that period following two packs of wolves, one that dominates the extreme outer coastal islands, and another that lives farther inland in the heart of the temperate rainforest.

McAllister, along with Chris Darimont and Paul C. Paquet, were the first to document the unique behavior of these animals in The Last Wild Wolves. In Following the Last Wild Wolves McAllister brings readers up to date describing what has happened to the wolves and their environment since the book first appeared. He chronicles their unique behavior as they fish for salmon in the fall, target seals hauled out on rocks in winter, and give birth to their young in spring. He also describes the work of scientists with the Raincoast Conservation Society who have been studying the wolves and explains how their science corroborates his own observations and the traditional knowledge of the area’s Native people. Most interestingly, the results of these studies reveal a genetically distinct population of wolves independent of and separate from all other known wolf populations on the planet.

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these rain forest wolves. Subtle changes, or mutations, occur over time in the genetic code of certain individuals, and such changes are forever marked as these individuals pass on their genes. Each version of the code, with its different mutation markers, is called a haplotype. More related populations will have a similar set of haplotypes compared with more distantly related populations. In other words, researchers compare the profile of the number and frequency of haplotypes among populations

large branches breaking. The sound went on for a few more minutes. Then quiet returned. Fifteen minutes later the pack erupted in howls. The wolves did not sound anxious or aggressive but, rather, composed, as if everything was now okay. Perhaps the howls were a signal to the pups that the danger was over. We decided to leave. If the wolves had felled the bear, we did not want to scare them off the kill. We would return the next day. The following morning we canoed in and set up location about

snake winding its way around the rocks. As he headed for the safety of the tree line, but just before the last sight of the kelp disappeared into the forest, the siblings caught up and in one big pile grabbed hold of the prize and the tug-of-war started. I was surprised at how strong that kelp was, but then I remembered that west coast Natives wove sun-dried kelp strands into lines for catching halibut, which can weigh many hundreds of kilograms. The siblings were pulling the kelp slowly back

could see cedar stumps, an old fence post, and through the salal the remains of an old homestead. The main cabin, which was half fallen over, was made of hand-hewn cedar logs, squared off with dovetail corner joints, a nice piece of construction. It was almost as if I were being taken on a historic route. Scandinavians tried to homestead here more than a hundred years ago, mainly because of rumours of gold and because the salmon canneries were close by. So many of these remote outer coastal

encased and suspended by water. The salmon were mostly pinks and chums, which can spawn in brackish water. But coho salmon can’t, and they were already in the deeper pools upriver. I looked around and saw that headless salmon were strewn about the forest floor, the bodies bearing the distinct puncture marks of wolves. Typically, the wolves eat just the heads. One hypothesis is that they are avoiding a parasite that concentrates in the guts of salmon. It’s a parasite that also uses the bear and

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