Prince Rupert City Council are preparing a request to the province for a conservation officer to be posted in Prince Rupert as there have numerous sightings of predatory animals, such as wolves, wandering the city. Animal bones found along shoreline of Galloway Rapids/Miller Bay, near Prince Rupert, in spring of 2018. (Photo:K-J Millar)

City to request conservation officer

Predatory wildlife appear to be bolder

The annual spring emergence of wolves, who are becoming brazenly bold and appear to be unaware of social distancing etiquette in our recent times, has some city officials concerned.

The City of Prince Rupert is preparing to ask the provincial government for a conservation officer to be assigned specifically to the city.

“Every year the wolves come to town. Every year the wolves take peoples animals. Some years they may be worse than others, but I do feel that this is a problem,” Wade Neish, city councillor said.

When the question was posedby Councillor Nick Adey, at the regular city council meeting on May 25, about the jurisdictional powers of the city to deal with predatory wildlife, the answer provided was the city has no authority.

“We have no control over those issues. We have some control, obviously over domestic pets, but we don’t have any control over wildlife. That is a provincial issue under the Wildlife Act,” Robert Long, city manager said.

READ MORE: UPDATED- More wolf sightings – numerous encounters

Long said the conservation officers usually respond from Terrace, when they are requested with a phone call, to attend a Prince Rupert issue and that is the most effective way, currently in place, to respond to the difficulty.

As reported in The Northern View, conservation officers responding from Terrace, with more than an hour and a half drive, are arriving in Prince Rupert, then not finding the animals as they have moved on. It has been recommended to telephone the RCMP in emergencies or when conservation officers are not available.

“As a Rupert taxpayer, as you know, we pay for the RCMP. I don’t feel that it’s right for the RCMP to have to be responding to these calls all the time. They’ve got way better things to be dealing with than to chase wolves around,” Neish said.

Neish said it is a topic that comes up every year and he feels the government should be able to provide a conservation officer.

“As best a job as they can do, they (RCMP) are not trained, and they are not equipped with the right equipment, to do this job. It is the Conservation Service that should be doing it.”

Numerous letters over the years have been sent requesting the assignment of an officer, Long said, however operations have remained in Terrace.

READ MORE: Wolves attacking Prince Rupert pets

Lee Brain, mayor said that a Notice of Motion can be prepared to get a letter written to the provincial government to make the request for an officer in time for the next council meeting. In the meantime, Brain said, the city can reach out to the province “tomorrow”, May 26, to communicate the city’s position.

“I know we have had many engagements with them in the past. I know a couple of years ago we did the same thing. We will reach out the the MLA’s office as well…” Brain said.

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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