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Grey wolves found feasting in Jasper

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

A lucky group of tourists witnesses nature at its finest, as a pack of grey wolves feasted on a bull elk in east Jasper National Park.

Maligne Adventures guide Karlee Grondin spotted four wolves around Morro Cliffs with a tour in late December, and she hoped her Jan. 4 tour group would be lucky too.

“When we were passing Talbot Lake I noticed there was some birds across the lake up on the ridge, so I decided to pull over and have a closer look through binoculars,” Grondin said, adding birds are usually an indicator of wolf or coyote kills. “I could see an elk rack close to the ground, and scavengers such as eagles, magpies and ravens taking advantage.”

Grondin says she spotted wolves in her photos. The group stayed and took a few photos, even catching the wolves’ retreat after their meal through their zoomed lenses and binoculars, she says.

Wolf specifics

All wolves in North America are of the same species, Canis lupus, according to Parks Canada, though the common name is “grey wolf.”

Parks Canada biologists told the Fitzhugh via email these wolves in particular are from a pack being monitored in JNP, and normally their territory is south of town down to Sunwapta Falls.

Though, lately this pack has been using areas near Pyramid bench, Lake Edith, Snaring, and most recently Talbot Lake, according to Parks.

Parks Canada says it isn’t aware of exactly what happened to result in these wolves acquiring such a large animal to eat. There are four known wolves in the pack; the elk may have been injured or dead when they found it.

Be prepared for good luck

Though finding wildlife is always an adventure and takes a bit of luck, Grondin says she relies on her experience and that of her colleagues to happen upon animals periodically.

“Wolves are hard to find because they range and move over such large territories. There is a ton of wildlife on the eastern side of the park, so I decided to head out that way,” says Grondin. “My group was very lucky… (It was) earlier in the (winter) when I was out looking for wildlife on my own time I noticed a bunch of wolf tracks out on Talbot Lake.”

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