Research Q & A
What’s your hometown?
What are you currently working on?
I work on the Voyageurs Wolf Project and study wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem. The Bell Museum awards have helped me to understand wolf predation on beaver, moose, and deer and wolf predation on fish. In 2019, the Bell Museum award allowed me to purchase multiple remote video cameras so that I could document how wolves hunt fish in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem. This work is the first that I am aware of to document wolves hunting and killing freshwater fish on video. I released a compilation of the video footage we got from these cameras on our Voyageurs Wolf Project social media accounts. The video footage can also be viewed on Youtube!
How are you working toward that goal?
I was able to achieve what I wanted with the trail cameras. That is, I was able to further document this rare behavior. My hope is to use these remote cameras next year to get more footage of this behavior. There is always some new that can be learned and remote cameras are a wonderful tool to help us do this.
Why are you focusing your work in that area?
Studying wolf predation on fish is one of several areas that I focus on. I am more generally interested in understanding the summer ecology of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem. Specifically, I am interested in the foraging and predation behavior of wolves. Wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem are very adaptable and target a variety of food sources (e.g. fish, beavers, blueberries, deer) to survive throughout the summer. My work is focused on documenting the adaptable predation and foraging behavior of wolves in this southern boreal ecosystem.
Where are you working on research/field work?
The Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem, which includes Voyageurs National Park and a large area directly south of the park.
What will your next steps/research be?
My next steps will be to study the summer ecology of wolves during the upcoming summer. There is much we still do not understand about these elusive predators. My hope is that my work will shed light one of Minnesota’s most charismatic wildlife species.
Tom Gable collects the lower jaw of a beaver that was killed by a wolf.
Tom Gable holds a wolf pup to weigh it and tag it before putting it back in its den.
Tom Gable inspects an old wolf den (photo credit: Duluth News Tribune)
Tom Gable and Austin Homkes investigate the area where a wolf killed a beaver (photo credit: Duluth News Tribune)
Tom Gable and the Voyageurs Wolf Project field crew collaring a 2-year-old wolf in May 2019.