Page last updated at 00:36 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 01:36 UK

Wolves prefer fishing to hunting

wolves - file photo
It is easier for the wolves to catch salmon than track deer

Wolves in western Canada prefer to fish for salmon when it is in season rather than hunt deer or other wild game, researchers have found.

Scientists studied the eating habits of wolf packs in British Columbia.

Deer is the staple food of the wolves in the spring and summer but they often injure themselves hunting them.

When Pacific salmon return to the region's rivers to spawn in the autumn, the wolves prefer the taste of the more nutritious and easier-to-catch fish.

The researchers studied the droppings and hair of eight wolf groups over four years to discover what they ate.

They had expected the wolves to switch to salmon only if deer were in short supply but this was not the case.

"Selecting benign prey such as salmon makes sense from a safety point of view," wrote Dr Chris Darimont, from the University of Victoria, BC, and his colleagues in the journal BMC Ecology.

"While hunting deer, wolves commonly incur serious and often fatal injuries," the researchers said, adding that salmon fishing is much less time consuming than tracking deer in the forest.

"In addition to safety benefits, we determined that salmon also provides enhanced nutrition over deer, especially in fat and energy."


SEE ALSO
Elusive wolves caught on camera
31 Jan 08 |  Science/Nature
Call for 'serious debate' on wolf
02 Mar 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Grey wolf 'no longer endangered'
21 Feb 08 |  Americas
US wolves 'no longer endangered'
30 Jan 07 |  Science/Nature

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific