Dr. Paul Paquet Wolf School episode 01 – The ecology and history of wolves

Wolf School is your opportunity to deepen your understanding of wolves, wolf ecology, biology and the issues they face for their survival in British Columbia and around the world.

To kick off wolf school we hear from Dr. Paul Paquet one of Canada’s leading experts on wolves. Dr. Paquet has been studying wolves around the world for over 35 years and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the history of wolf research, as well as the relationship between wolves and their prey.

In this episode, host Ross Dixon and Dr. Paquet discuss wolves in a broader context, including some of the more unique experiences where Paul has been able to study wolves in the wild. Dr. Paquet discusses how wolves are highly adaptable animals, their social behaviors, and what happens to wolf behavior when we (humans) disturb this social structure of the pack.

Wolves are social animals and live in groups consisting of social hierarchies, including dominant male or females pack leaders. Human disturbances can have small to more severe consequences on wolf pack dynamics.

Smaller direct disturbances, noises, roads, human presence, can alienate wolves from areas where they live or how they communicate with each other. While more severe consequences to the group can arise when mature adults are killed or injured by humans affecting reproductive and hunting behavior. 

Another key discussion point covered in this episode is the ecological role of wolves and how they interact with other species. Wolves are summit or apex predators, and their role in any ecosystem depends on the complexity of the system where they are found. 

Wolves have a top-down influence on the environment and can influence the behavior of their prey and other predators. This relationship changes in systems where wolves are recently introduced compared to environments where they have been present over generations. 

Tune in to episode one of wolf school to hear Dr. Paquet discuss these and many more interesting topics regarding the social behavior of wolves and their relationship to the environment. Dr. Paquet leaves us with the message to remember how we behave towards wolves and how we treat them while reminding us we should all hug a virtual wolf!

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