VICTORIA — British Columbia’s conservation agency says a wolf that spent years alone roaming a tiny island off Victoria has been shot and killed.
The wolf, dubbed Takaya by researchers, was safely relocated to a remote area of southwestern Vancouver Island earlier this year after it swam away from Discovery Island and spent days exploring a Victoria neighbourhood.
The conservation officer service says the wolf, which inspired a television documentary broadcast last year, was shot and killed by a hunter near Shawnigan Lake on Tuesday.
In a statement, the service says the wolf was killed about 50 kilometres from where it was relocated.
It says the wolf wasn’t returned to Discovery Island because it might have left in a search for food.
The service says the wolf was relocated outside of Port Renfrew in consultation with biologists from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, as well as the provincial wildlife veterinarian.
“This isolated coastal habitat similar to Discovery Island was carefully chosen to give the wolf the best chance possible,” it says.
“We understand many British Columbians and people around the world shared care and concern for the well-being of this wolf and this update will affect many people.”
The service says it’s investigating the death.
In January, it said conservation officers were confident the wolf is the same one that had lived alone for seven years on Discovery Island. They believe it managed to swim through the treacherous currents that sweep past the tiny island to reach Victoria.
Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, said the death of Takaya highlights a larger problem.
“The senseless trophy killing of Takaya, the iconic ‘lone wolf’ made famous by his stay on Discovery Island, once again brings to the fore the full-spectrum persecution of Canis lupus in British Columbia,” Genovali said in a news release.
The foundation said the provincial government estimates about 1,200 wolves are killed annually in B.C. for recreational purposes.
“Wildlife management policy that permits activity that is so misaligned with commonly held values requires immediate attention by provincial authorities,” said Dr. Chris Darimont, Raincoast’s science director.