Never-Before-Seen Wolf Predation Finally Caught on Film

Wolves will eat just about anything. And humans will film just about anything.

So it’s a surprise when we’ve never seen a wolf catch a particular prey species before. But you can now cross seals off the list.

Researchers in Alaska’s Katmai National Park caught a wolf dragging a harbor seal to shore, killing it, and eating pieces of it (after briefly leaving to grab a dinner date).

The event happened in 2016 and counts as the first observed instance of the behavior. Separate occasions in 2018, 2019, and 2021 suggested that the canines also hunt sea otters. Sure enough, in 2021, cameras caught wolves carrying a dead sea otter.

The seal hunting incident, though, stands alone as the first proof of a long-suspected behavior.

“In the High Arctic, wolves often patrol along leads (open cracks in the sea ice) where seals come up to bask in the sun,” ExplorersWeb editor and arctic explorer Jerry Kobalenko said. “But I’ve never seen evidence of a successful hunt.”

Now we have.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.