- Going in, Darimont and Paquet had assumed that the coastal wolves on the islands were simply normal wolves that moved between islands and the mainland, pushing on whenever they’d polished off the deer. Instead the data showed that wolves can spend their whole lives on outer islands that have no salmon runs and few or even no deer. These wolves are more likely to mate with other islanders, not with salmon-eaters. And they’re beachcombers. They chew barnacles. Scarf up the gluey roe that herring lay on kelp. Feast on whales that wash up dead. Swim out into the ocean and clamber nimbly up onto rocks to pounce on basking seals. “As much as 90 percent of these wolves’ diet can come directly from the sea,” Darimont says.
Most extraordinary is the wolves’ swimming prowess. They often swim across miles of ocean between islands. In 1996 wolves showed up on Dundas Islands for the first time in the Tsimshian people’s long collective memory—eight miles from the nearest land.