British Columbia

Wolf conservation project looking for 'poop fairies' to scoop scat

Workers at Pacific Rim National Park are looking for locals to help collect wolf scat as part of a wider study to understand the diet, ancestry and kinship of the local wolf population.

Part of a wider study to understand diet, ancestry and kinship of local wolf population

A five-member wolf pack roams a beach near Tofino, B.C. (Parks Canada)

Have you ever thought of being a "poop fairy"?

Workers at Pacific Rim National Park are hoping a few locals will step up to help them collect wolf scat as part of a wider study to understand the diet, ancestry and kinship of the local wolf population.

It's part of the Wild About Wolves project, a five-year Parks Canada initiative aimed at reducing conflict and promoting coexistence between people and within and outside park reserve boundaries. 

Todd Windle, the project manager with the Wild About Wolves project, says there is a lot of information to be gleaned from wolf scat, but because the wolves travel over long distances and move over a large area, it's hard for the park reserve staff to collect it.

Windle says anyone who is already out and about on the beaches, trails and logging roads in the reserve could be mobilized to collect the scat. 

"They cover a lot of area and they're already outside ... so if we can give them a little bit of instruction and supply the equipment that's needed, we can really increase our potential sample size," Windle told host Robyn Burns on CBC's All Points West

A poster from Pacific Rim National Park Reserve recruiting volunteers. (@PacificRimNPR/Twitter)

Windle says one of the challenges, of course, will be for the so-called "poop fairies" to identify wolf scat. He says there will be training given to interested volunteers that will help them identify the correct samples.

"And once you know what to look for, it's actually quite a bit easier than you think," he said. 

Ultimately, Windle says, the scat can help identify what sorts of prey the wolves are eating, how they are moving through the area, and the relationships between different packs.

"As an apex predator, [wolves] really affect a lot of the species underneath them and even potentially changes a habitat," he said. 

"We hope to also teach the volunteers a little bit about the larger project .. and just get a greater appreciation for how special these animals are."

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, can contact Todd Windle directly via e-mail

Listen to the full interview on CBC's All Points West:

With files from All Points West


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