A photo of a type of wolf that’s native to B.C. made National Geographic’s list of their top 20 photos of 2015. The half submerged photo shows a curious sea wolf who entered into the water to eat herring roe, but then spotted the cameraman and swam over to investigate.
It was snapped by Ian McAllister and was featured in an October 2015 National Geographic feature story called “In Search of the Elusive Sea Wolf Along Canada’s Rugged Coast.” The photo was taken in the Great Bear Rainforest on B.C.’s central coast.
McAllister works for Pacific Wild, an advocacy group dedicated to protecting animals and their habitats on the Pacific coast.
So how did he manage to catch such an intimate portrait of a wild animal? The answer involved lots of patience, McAllister says.
“This was one wolf out of a pack that predictably feeds on herring eggs each spring season, so they’re down at the intertidal zone feasting on the eggs,” he tells Vancity Buzz.
“The wolf came over to investigate and I managed to snap the photo.”
McAllister says B.C.’s sea wolves are extremely rare in the world of wolves because of their unique genetics and behaviour. But they’re also in danger.
“They’re completely unprotected – they’re subjected to hunting, trapping, their habitat is not adequately protected and because of their strong dependence on the ocean, things like oil spills and unsustainable fisheries are also having an impact on coastal wolves.”
McAllister hopes the extra attention his National Geographic honour gets will go towards getting greater protections put in place for this rare species of wolf.
“They should be recognized as evolutionary significant population and we should be protecting from trophy hunting and protecting more of their habitats.”