You don’t usually think of wolves as creatures that can catch fish. And until recently, it wasn’t something anybody had ever really considered. It turns out, though, that these animals are even smarter than we previously thought and do indeed know how to hunt and catch fish. Specifically, they know how to take advantage of beaver dams to go after ones that can’t easily escape.
The revelation comes in what Voyageurs Wolf Project calls the “first-ever” camera collar footage from a wild wolf. The researchers trapped and sedated a lone wolf known affectionately as V089 and attached a Vecftronic-Aerospace camera collar to him. It records in 30-second bursts each hour through the daytime for a 7-minute video each day.
Seven minutes to document an entire day isn’t a lot of time. Even if we take away the 10 hours of nighttime that it doesn’t capture, 7 minutes is less than 1% of the remaining daylight hours. But the camera managed to capture some pretty cool footage showing what the wolf had managed to catch and eat – including fish.
What is particularly fascinating is that this wolf (V089, a lone wolf) knew how to hunt and catch fish. He can be seen eating 3 different fish, which were all killed and consumed at the same spot along the Ash River.
Based on the amount of time this wolf spent in this spot, it is clear this wolf killed more than 3 fish. However, the collar only took videos for 30 seconds at the beginning of every hour of daylight meaning we only got 7 minutes of video footage each day (14 hr of daylight x 30 second per hour). 7 minutes of footage a day is not that much. Luckily, we still captured some really neat stuff!
– Voyageurs Wolf Project
Previously, the team had observed wolves from one pack hunting and killing fish in the same creek, but they weren’t sure if this behaviour was unique to that pack. And, well, it’s not. Other wolves know how to hunt for fish, too and they do it in different areas. So, it’s perhaps unlikely it was learned behaviour from observing others – at least in the case of V089.
The view is obscured quite a bit by V089’s hair, but it’s something the team plans to address in the future as they outfit three more wolves with cameras this summer. They say they will “probably trim the hair back just a little bit”, but that due to the general posture of a wolf and how they hold their head when they move, you’re always going to see parts of the wolf in the shot (like their chin). But hopefully, the camera won’t be completely covered in “wet muddy hair”.
Very cool. Did you know wolves went fishing?
[via The Verge]