British filmmaker Bertie Gregory was one of the lucky ones: He saw coastal wolvesâalso known as sea wolvesâin 2011.
"There is something about being in the presence of a coastal wolfâthey just have this magic and aura around them," he says.
Roughly the size of Maryland, the island and its remote western fringes are still a wild frontier in the Pacific Northwest.
Chris Darimont, science director at the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, has studied the carnivores' unusual lifestyle for nearly two decades.
There are two populations: mainland coastal wolves and coastal island wolves, the latter being the focus of Gregoryâs quest.
âThe mainland coastal wolves are every bit as 'coastal,' though they do eat less seafood compared to those on islands," Darimont says.
Their genes prove it; collectively, coastal island wolves have distinct DNA that sets them apart from interior wolves, according to a 2014 study published in BMC Ecology. »