More wolf sightings along the trail to McLymont Park, near Eighth Ave. West were reported on May 24, increasing the activity visible to the public by the increasingly brazen wolves. Two wolves were reported to have been seen sitting on the steps down to the trail making passersby wary according to the social media posts.
As previously reported in The Northern View there have been several sightings in various areas of the city such as Eighth Ave. East, Eleventh Ave East, McLymont Park, the Civic Centre and Hays Creek Trail. Concern is mounting as wolves are reportedly not being frightened off when yelled at or deterred away.
Conservation Officer Mike Geuze said officers have been called to Prince Rupert a few times recently, however by the time they arrive the wolves have left the area and can’t be found.
There are a lot of food sources in Prince Rupert that attract wolves like rats, feral cats and deer.
Geuze advised residents to ensure that food sources such as pet food and garbage is secured, not just for the recent wolf incidents but to detract bears as well. This time of year Conservation routinely asks the public to remove wildlife attractants to minimize the risk of bear encounters, and is again asking the public to take added precautions for wolves, which are especially attracted to pet food.
“Generally we see an increase in the late winter, early spring,” Gueze said, “It’s been been pretty steady since the late winter, with a lot of food sources in Rupert, which is why I think they’re sticking around.”
Gueze said that wolves follow their food sources in the spring down to the valley bottoms, so they are sighted more often around this time.
Residents are warned to keep their pets close by because household animals have been killed recently in Prince Rupert.
“Make sure your pets are inside especially at night… Don’t let them roam around. Dogs as well, and when you’re walking them make sure that they’re on a leash,” Geuze said.
If dogs are allowed to roam or be off the leash they can instigate a chase situation.
When walking on the trails, it is recommended to carry bear mace, as this can be used on wolves as well as bears. Geuze said caution should be used if you encounter any wolves.
“Slowly get out of the area don’t turn and run, or scream… Just make lots of noise and make sure it knows you’re there and try and scare it off,” Geuze said, “Get sticks and rocks and throw them at them.”
“It’s not uncommon to see wolves in Prince Rupert, but now it’s escalated,” Geuze said.
The Prince Rupert RCMP are authorized to take action, and use force if necessary, in situations where conservation officers are not present, Gueze said.
If you sight a wolf you are asked to call the BC Conservation RAAP Line at 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on the Telus Mobility Network.
with files from Quinn Bender
K-J Millar | Journalist
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