The north-western wolf is a remarkable predator that thrives in a variety of habitats and ecosystems across Canada. Its thick, plush coat, and a distinctively rounder head, make it stand out among other subspecies of wolves. A tenacious and intelligent hunter, north-western wolves are known to live as part of a tightly-knit family pack.
The name of this subspecies, Canis lupus occidentalis, literally translates to “wolves of the western regions.” This is because they inhabit northern areas of North America including Alaska and British Columbia. They have a diverse diet and occupy a large territory.
They are a carnivorous species that feed on a wide range of prey from deer and elk, to mountain goats and beavers. They prefer to hunt in open country away from dense forests and are capable of traveling long distances in search of prey.
Elegant Predators: Understanding the Behaviors of Northwestern Wolves
Like all canids, north-western wolves are highly social animals that live in packs. Each pack is managed by a dominant male and female, and the order within the pack is determined through ritualized displays of dominance. This structured system allows for efficient hunting and care of offspring, demonstrating the intelligence and adaptability of these incredible predators.
Packs typically hunt throughout the day, traveling to a wide variety of locations in their territory. They may cover up to 40 miles in a single day, scanning the ground for prey.
Packs are monogamous and generally breed during late January or February, with a gestation period of 63 days. Pups are born in dens such as rock crevices, hollow logs and caves. They are born blind and deaf but will start hearing in just a few weeks.