“This wolf was habituated by people.”
A wolf was killed in Ucluelet on Friday afternoon.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service destroyed the animal around 12:30 p.m.
Conservation Officer Steve Ackles told the Westerly News the COS had been monitoring the animal for several days.
He said the wolf is believed to have attacked two dogs at a local campground Thursday night and was spotted around Ucluelet Elementary School Friday afternoon around 11:30 a.m.
“This particular wolf was just too, too, calm and content to be around people at close proximity and living inside the town,” he said. “In broad daylight, that’s just not typical wild wolf behaviour to be that comfortable around people.”
The wolf’s behaviour had caused the District of Ucluelet to issue a Wolf Advisory on Thursday following a recommendation from the Conservation Officer Service.
Despite the wolf being killed, Ackles said he’d like to keep the Advisory in place so that local awareness stays high.
“This wolf was habituated by people,” he said. “There are other wolves that have been passing through town…These other wolves haven’t been approaching people and they haven’t been approaching dogs so, if we can instill that they’re not welcome around people, we might have a chance to save these wolves and they’re behaviour won’t escalate.”
This is the second time a habituated wolf has been killed on the West Coast this year, with the first being destroyed in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on May 28 after reportedly attacking at least one leashed dog.
Ackles suggested both destroyed wolves had been reported approaching parked cars.
“I’ve seen that before. That’s where people have fed wildlife to get those photos,” he said. “This is learned behaviour and unfortunately it ended that wolf’s life.”
He noted two town hall meetings were held earlier this week where Conservation Officers joined Pacific Rim National park Reserve staff to help locals understand what they need to do to safely coexist with wildlife and he was pleased to see solid engagement at both. He hopes the information delivered at those meetings help locals become solid “ambassadors” so that they can lead by example in terms of coexisting with wildlife.
“We know that wolves are living on the peninsula. It’s a place of wolves, bears and cougars,” he said. “We live with them.”
Anyone who spots a wolf, or other predator, is asked to immediately report their sighting to 1-877-952-7277.
Ackles said early reporting helps Conservation Officers intervene before an animal’s behaviour escalates.
“That gives us a chance to save that bear, or wolf or cougar, before it becomes habituated,” he said. “We have a chance to educate people and get at the root of the problem.”
He encourages locals to leash their pets.
“I’ve got dogs. I love dogs…Don’t let them run off-leash all over the place,” he said. “Wolves see dogs as food. If you love your dog, keep it on a leash unless it’s in a contained area.”