Arctic wolf photographed swimming after waterfowl prey

This has never been observed before.

Story. Elusive wolves caught on camera. (bad link fixed) By Rebecca Morelle. Science reporter, BBC News.

This an interesting story about Arctic wolves on Ellesmere Island.

One sentence bothers me — “The team was also amazed by the wolves’ boldness.” When wolves don’t run but come and examine something new, they are often called “bold.” This is a completely anthropocentric view. We don’t if wolves they haven’t seen humans (or who have, but haven’t been harmed) are fighting an urge to flee or not.







  1. Heather Avatar

    I saw this earlier today and thought about the effect of global warming on wolves in the arctic. and of course if you look at the research by David Mech, he has done a study on just this topic. Funny how it all relates isn’t it?

  2. dbaileyhill Avatar

    That is quite the contrast from Helen Thayer a Kiwi who wrote the book “Three Among the Wolves”, about her observations of the arctic wolves.

  3. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Hi I am Jeff E’s daughter. my dad is an expert on wolves. You should no that bye now. people

  4. Heather Avatar

    what do you mean dbaileyhill? I read that book as well. The wolves ate small squirrels, rodents etc. How is it quite a contrast?? just curious – I’m not meaning to be offensive.

  5. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Don’t worry about being curious. We usually learn more when we ask questions.
    About the book—The wolves behavior in the presence of the film crew is the opposite of how they acted during Helen’s trips. In her book the wolves were careful about the distance between them. The film crews wolves did not keep their distance, nor did they keep the pups from being “bold”. They were not concerned about intruders near or in their boundaries. Those wolves are not used to the presence of people like the ones in YNP. And one might think that it would make more sense for the behaviors to be reversed; arctic wolves elusive, as in the book, and the park wolves more bold because they are used to seeing people off in the distance for extended periods. Also from my understanding, wolves do not like to go in deep water and prey will go to deeper water to avoid attack. I observed that in Yellowstone. The wolves finally gave up on the elk in the deep water and went elsewhere. The elk got away. I also saw a wolf standing in the edge of a pond watching two geese. The geese staying in the center and the wolf would only go so far, lifting his paws up and down, fidgeting and watching. The wolf finally gave up and left.
    Do you remember the section in the book that described how the wolves and polar bears stayed near each other and shared the kills? I started thinking about how they may change behavior patterns, and how they might adapt because the ice cap is significantly smaller from the time Helen was there, and the polar bear population has decreased, and there is a possibility of extinction. I am guessing there may be other prey animals, like the smaller ones, that might be less abundant. The ice cap, receding as fast as the current rate, must also be effecting other species, not just the bears.
    If the warming climate continues it will be necessary for wildlife to adapt quickly and those not capable may not survive.
    It just doesn’t make sense that those wolves are not wary. And it could be that climate has nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s a lack of the smaller prey animals that has lead these wolves to hunt waterfowl.
    The decrease in polar bears is easily discernable because of their size. One may only be able to speculate any changes with the the little guys.
    I am not a wolf expert and i have not observed them for extended periods of time. I read and study regularly and that is where i learn quite a bit. So i may be way off base and until someone observes those wolves for long periods, then guessing may be the best that it gets.
    I hope I made some sense in all this.

  6. Chris H. Avatar
    Chris H.

    That was a much needed treat (except maybe for the waterfowl).I knew they could swim and in fact are good swimmers. However, their penchant for waterfowl is news to me – and to get it on film! Thanks again!

  7. Heather Avatar

    Thanks dbaileyhill! Sometimes, one cannot know if the other person’s email etc is defensive or just curious.

  8. James Avatar

    um hi i just stumbled upon this, and i was wondering if arctic wolves are endangered.

  9. Davej Avatar

    Wolves don’t seem to mind swimming in deep water, and will even cross fast moving water that is too deep to stand in when they need to, but taking an elk in deep water is dangerous and difficult.