Swimming Wolves Are a Thing
June 30, 2017 8:40 PM   Subscribe

A few 10s of million years to orcas.
posted by jamaro at 8:50 PM on June 30 [7 favorites]

Here in Southeast Alaska there's been a struggle over the classification of the Alexander Archipelago wolf, a sub-population or possible sub-species of the gray wolf. I'm not sure what to think of the political fight over them, which unfortunately seems to be at least as much about support for or opposition to logging as it does about actual wolf biology but it's a big archipelago and populations throughout are pretty separated from interior mainland populations.

I do know that when I hear the wolves it makes me happy to know they're there. I've been here nearly 15 years and I might have seen one -- once -- but then again I might have been mistaken. But I've heard them on a number of occasions and it has always been something that made me feel my wilderness experience more deeply.

Also, it doesn't surprise me at all that populations of wolves in this region have learned to subsist off sea life and make salmon, especially, a major part of their diet. The sea is remarkably productive in this part of the world and salmon are almost inconceivably intertwined with the entire ecosystem. Almost everything here benefits from the salmon in one way or another, even the trees in the forest.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:01 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]

Roughly the size of Maryland, the island and its remote western fringes are still a wild frontier in the Pacific Northwest.

Please recalculate in Rhode Islands, the standard measure of large area, and try again, National Geographic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:51 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

This reminds me of the time a few years back that keepers in Dublin Zoo noticed that they didn't always seem to have all the wolves that they should. Turns out they had almost tunnelled out under the perimiter wall.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:18 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]

Were the wolves in Dublin engaging in physical training to distract the guards from the ones doing the digging?

Did they transport the dirt in their trousers-legs?

That would have been the first tip-off for me. Wolves wearing trousers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:30 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]

Please recalculate in Rhode Islands, the standard measure of large area, and try again, National Geographic.

This measure is complicated by the debate over whether to include the associated plantations.
posted by srboisvert at 6:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

This must be the kind of wolf my doggo is descended from!
posted by workerant at 8:15 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


(for the wolf mother)
posted by Cogito at 9:18 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

You're alone, out on the ocean. Your usual late summer swim. Off to your left, you see a splash, and you notice a dark shape in the water, a head... is that a dog? No, a wolf. Swimming along. That's weird.

Then you notice another one behind it. And one off to your right too. And one between you and the shore.

As they close in, they let out triumphant, gurgling howls.
posted by MrVisible at 10:56 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]

Every fall I have the absolute pleasure of camping on the beach, on the smallest of the islands that are populated by the wolves, I hear them most nights, occasionally catch a glimpse... a sea wolf in the bay, lit by the moon, standing in water lit by the bioluminescent algae... it's the best, I have no other words, the best.
posted by Cosine at 1:46 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Is this the room with the wolfmother wallpaper?
posted by DaddyNewt at 4:06 PM on July 1

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