There is a colony of these stunning sea wolves that inhabit British Columbia’s untamed Pacific coast
“There is something about being in the presence of a coastal wolf—they just have this magic and aura around them,” says Ian McAllister, a photographer who has been studying these incredible animals for nearly two decades.
“We know from exhaustive DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their continental kin.”
“They are behaviourally 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,” says McAllister.
These inspiring photographs by McAllister perfectly capture the magic of these wolves.
As he approached them, “the curious canines approached him so closely that he could hear them grunting into his snorkel. He took several frames, then pushed back into deeper water without daring to look up,” writes the bioGraphic.
With 90% of their diet coming from the ocean and a quarter of it coming from eating salmon, one could almost call these sea wolves pescatarians.
In addition to having unusual feeding habits, sea wolves have been recorded to swim 7.5 kilometers from the closest landmass.
Coastal island wolves are truly committed to the sea, unlike their cousins that live inland. According to a 2014 study published in BMC Ecology, coastal island wolves have distinctive DNA that distinguishes them from inland wolves.
Such genetic variations among wolves are not unusual, but finding them on the west coast of Vancouver Island is unusual, according to co-author Erin Navid, a research grants officer at the University of Calgary.
Another result of their diet is that they are physically smaller than gray wolves in other regions of the country. “Interior wolves are about 20 percent bigger, maybe like a [Great] Pyrenees.”