In January, Craig Comstock did what he’s done many times over the years — loaded his two dogs into his vehicle and drove from his home in Calgary to the backcountry for a day hike.Comstock, 44, is an avid outdoorsman — he hikes, fishes and hunts pheasants and partridges — but none of that prepared him for what he found in the bush.First, he came across two dead foxes and a dead wolf.“Their heads had been cut off, their feet had been cut off and they had been skinned,” he told The Narwhal, noting that he also saw “several piles of bait meat.”Then, as he walked on, he felt the prickly sensation of being watched. His eyes met those of a wolf, just 10 metres away. It was huge, he said — much, much bigger than his own dogs.
When snow falls, wolves chill out, according to a recent study from the University of Alberta.Over two winters, researchers looked at the movements of grey wolves near Fort McMurray, Alta. in conjunction with data on snowfall in the area.”We found that on the night that it was snowing, wolves rested more than they travelled, and when they travelled, they travelled slower than on other days when there wasn’t any snowfall,” Amanda Droghini, a former master’s student with the biology department.
LIKE some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards. It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.
For more than two decades, Gilbert Proulx has spent countless hours in an enclosed wooded compound, monitoring foxes as they hunted rabbits and squirrels, then setting what he thought were the perfect killing snares on the foxes’ favoured pathways. But the wildlife researcher, who has been looking for more humane ways for trappers to capture animals, said that when his perfectly set snares were sprung, they rarely caught the foxes in a way that would quickly bring death.”If you want to have a perfect kill, you have about a one-centimetre target zone right behind the animal’s jaw,” said the science director for Alpha Wildlife Research & Management, a consulting firm based in Sherwood Park, Alta. “But hitting that is like waiting to win Lotto 6/49 – we found it was impossible,” said Mr. Proulx, whose studies have proved that snares rarely work the way they are supposed to.
New research has found some carnivores in Kananaskis Country have altered their behaviour in response to the presence of humans.The results come from a University of Victoria master’s student, who studied data from motion-triggered cameras in Kananaskis and the more remote Willmore Wilderness Park north of Jasper.Sandra Frey says she noticed wolves in K-Country became more nocturnal so as not to bump into people during the day.
A wilderness protection agency says Ontario’s Algonquin wolves are quickly disappearing because hunting, trapping, road building and increasing breeding with coyotes that dilutes the gene pool.Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is urging the provincial government to eliminate hunting and trapping of Algonquin wolves within a recovery zone as well as protect its habitat by limiting and reducing roads.