Prince Rupert RCMP issued a warning regarding wolves within city boundaries last week.
Over the past month Prince Rupert RCMP have received 14 calls for service regarding wolf sightings within the urban areas of Prince Rupert.
“During this time of the year, typically we do get similar call volumes when it comes to wolf sightings,” said Const. Matt Ericson, spokesperson of the Prince Rupert RCMP, adding the numerous sightings have been scattered throughout the community.
“What happens is that the mountains start to get quite a bit of snow and that forces deer down into the community … of course with the deer being a food source, the wolves follow.”
Gareth Scrivner, a conservation officer in the North Coast zone, also said it’s been a typical year in terms of the amount of people calling after seeing a wolf, noting reports usually stem from one or two dominant wolves in a pack.
“We generally see an increase in sightings reported to us around this time of year,” he said.
“Most people know that Kaien Island has wolves, like most places on the B.C. coast. Places where wolves have been successful in getting food will more than likely get another visit,” Scrivner said.
However, the Terrace conservation office did receive a call back in December regarding a wolf that had picked up a small dog and dropped it, with Scrivner stating the dog was taken to the vet and is expected to recover.
“Prince Rupert residents who choose to leave small pets outside, especially during the hours of darkness, may attract wolves and could risk the health of their pets,” he said.
Ericson said there are simple precautions community members can take to deter wolves from urban areas. This includes removing all potential food sources from outdoor areas, thoroughly clean areas where game may have been quartered, not leaving small pets unattended outdoors and supervising young children when out playing or walking.
Prince Rupert RCMP remind people who encounter a wolf to remain calm and not run from the animal. Back away slowly and leave room from the wolf to escape. Raise your voice and if the wolf approaches or acts aggressively, wave your arms to make yourself appear as large as possible. Make noise and throw any available objects.
“Although wolves may seem intimidating in most circumstances they are more afraid of you,” said Ericson.
The conservation office encourages anyone who spots a wolf to contact 1-877-952-7277 so they can monitor wolf activity in the area.
Contact the Prince Rupert RCMP immediately if you observe a wolf behaving aggressively at 250-624-0700.