These Rare, Incredible Wolves Swim For Miles And Subsist On Seafood

90 percent of the wolves' diet is seafood and they can swim up to 7.5 miles in one go!

Credit: Ian McAllister

Did you know? Along the wild Pacific coast of British Columbia, a population of sea wolves exists. Unlike their interior cousins, the coastal wolves spend half of their time on land and the other half in the water. In fact, it is not unusual for the wolves to swim for miles or predominantly consume seafood.

Images of the majestic wolves were captured by Ian McAllister, an award-winning photographer who has been studying the sea wolves for the past two decades. He told National Geographic:

“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.”

McAllister dared to venture close to the sea wolves during his time on Vancouver Island. As he swam towards 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,” notes the biographic.

Because 90 percent of the wolves’ food comes from the ocean, they could almost be called pescatarians. Indeed, one-fourth of their diet is made up of salmon! Because seafood is so nutrient-dense, the animals are not lacking nutritionally. Perhaps that’s why they have been recorded swimming to an archipelago 7.5 miles away from the nearest landmass!

A population of sea wolves can be found along the wild Pacific coast of British Colombia

Credit: Ian McAllister

“We know from… DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their continental kin”

Credit: Ian McAllister

“They are behaviourally distinct, swimming from island to island and preying on sea animals”

Credit: Ian McAllister


The wolves “are smaller in size and physically different from their mainland counterparts”

Credit: Ian McAllister

The wolves can swim 7.5 miles in one go!

Credit: Ian McAllister


And, 90 percent of their diet is seafood

Credit: Ian McAllister

Photographer Ian McAllister has been studying and photographing the wolves for the past two decades

Credit: Ian McAllister


His work allows us to see into and understand the wolves’ lives

Credit: Ian McAllister

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