Big, bad predator image aside, wolves are happy to grab a salmon out of a stream – Alaska Dispatch News

Wolves, as readers of fairy tales know, have enduring reputations as big, bad predators. But a growing body of evidence shows that wolf diets can be diverse and extend beyond the big animals that they hunt down.In Alaska in particular, the studies say, many wolves dine on a daintier dish — salmon.Two recent studies focusing on coastal areas of Southwest Alaska fill in details about those food choices, quantifying the proportion of salmon in wolf diets in different locations and times of the year.One study, newly published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, studied wolves in Lake Clark National Park over four years — 22 wolves from nine social groups roaming the park. Researchers examined the chemistry of hair and blood samples, which revealed the chemical fingerprint of food eaten by the animals.Of the test subjects, five had summer diets that were at least half salmon. The others ate mostly food from land in that season.Use of salmon varied widely between individuals and groups and between seasons and years, and there was a lot of evidence of diet switching as seasons changed and years progressed, the study said. Estimated proportions of salmon in individual wolves’ diets ranged from 1 percent to 89 percent in different seasons and locations.

Source: Big, bad predator image aside, wolves are happy to grab a salmon out of a stream – Alaska Dispatch News

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