The Last Wild Wolves in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rain Forest

The Last Wild Wolves is a 3 part documentary of the “Ghosts of the Rain forests” or the coastal wolves of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rain forest. This is a temperate rain forest that is isolated from the continent of Canada by a vast mountain range and has been ruled by the wild for thousands of years. This rain forest has been heavily dependent on the yearly return of the salmon for food and fertilization and since it is protected against fires, many of the trees are thousands of years old also.

The wolves of this rain forest have never been studied before. A group of biologists that were studying the bear population here and it’s relationship to salmon, kept running into lot’s of evidence of the wolves. Since their habitat was slated to be demolished by logging activity, the group called the Rain Coast Conservation Society decided that a study was needed.

Before this study was conducted, the Grizzly Bear was thought to be the Apex predator of the forests. It has since been found that it is actually the wolf that is the Apex predator that keeps the diverse ecosystem in balance. This is because the wolf travels all over the rain forest whereas the Grizzly stays in the coastal valleys. A noninvasive type of research was decided upon so as to not disturb the wolf population. Hair samples and wolf scat were collected to analyze it’s contents for types of prey eaten and nutrients found.

What the biologist found was that the wolves were an essential component of the health of the rain forest. Since salmon are the life blood here, the most important role of the wolf was to carry the salmon inland to the forests. Then the salmon remains were used as food for the birds and insects. The release of nitrogen into the soil from the decaying fish bodies then fertilized the lush growth of trees and foliage which produced vast amounts of oxygen. Thus completing the cycle.

It was also found that the wolves here had the most genetic diversity of wolves anywhere in the world since they had been so isolated and undisturbed in the past. This genetic diversity is crucial to be able to adapt to changing conditions in the environment over time. Sadly the biggest threat now is the logging industry which has started to move into this pristine area threatening the natural balance of the the area. It has also created roads which can easily bring in hunters to track the wolves, bears and other wildlife.

In conclusion the research team came to understand that the wolves are a part of a central ecosystem that works together in perfect harmony. Even though industrial destruction is closing in on this highly functioning ecosystem, there is still time to learn the important lessons from nature and to understand that we too as humans play a crucial part in preserving it’s balance.

Videos : The Last Wild Wolves in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest


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