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 takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.