National Geographic : 2015 Oct
Sea Wolves 127 setbacks, the debate about whether and how to manage them. They’ve been studied, profiled, vilified, and glorified. You’d think by this time we’d know all there is to know about them. But aside from Homo sapiens, there are few mam- mals more adaptable or more diverse in their habitats than Canis lupus. And these wolves of the British Columbia coast appear to be unique. Chris Darimont, from the Raincoast Conser- vation Foundation, has spent over ten years de- veloping a fine-grain picture of coastal wolves, which he lightheartedly calls “Canada’s newest marine mammal.” New to science, he means. Halfway across the land bridge now, the pair of unlikely marine mammals paces into focus. The wolf on the right is nearly white with age. “Alpha female,” McAllister calls out. The fur on her face is worn to fuzz, like a child’s old stuffed toy. Her eyes are bald, round buttons. The other wolf, an alpha male, is an Adonis—tawny, with a loose mantle of black-tipped fur. The wolves reach our beach. Closer. Bigger. At last the matri- arch stops, looks up. She coughs a growly, hostile chuff and disappears up the beach. Adonis raises his head, loses his slump, pins me with his amber eyes—and keeps coming. Slow, deliberate, bold—ignoring McAllister and coming straight at me.