Samples to be sent to lab for testing
Conservation officers believe they may know by Wednesday if the wolf killed in Port Edward is the same one that attacked a senior last week.
Conservation Officer Service Insp. Cam Schley told The Northern View that a lone female adult wolf was trapped and dispatched late in the afternoon on Monday (June 1) in Port Edward.
The wolf was located in relatively close vicinity to the site of the attack which occurred on May 29, Schley said. While it was not found directly at the attack site, a witness to the attack identified it as potentially the same animal. Overall, conservation officers have seen an increase in reported wolf sightings in Prince Rupert.
A necropsy has been scheduled for 9 a.m. in Terrace on Wednesday (June 3), and will be completed by a government wildlife veterinarian.
“The wildlife veterinarian will look at the overall health and samples. They will test for disease,” Schley said.
While there were no obvious signs of ill health, a variety of tests will be performed to establish if the wolf captured is actually the one that attacked the senior. These examinations can include stomach contents, DNA and bite patterns, as well as tests on the health of the animal.
Conservation officers will keep a presence in Port Edward, with day and night patrols, until tests results are available. If tests prove the wolf is not the one in the attack, officers will continue their activity in Port Edward.
“I am hopeful it is the right wolf. The community is under enough stress and anxiety from the pandemic. They don’t need anymore with wolf attacks. Hopefully, in our small way we can relieve some of that.”
“We just have to see if there are any more sighting in Port Edward over the next couple of days,” Schley said. “We are still going to capture wolves in Prince Rupert that are going after dogs on leashes.”
Between 6 a.m and 8 a.m. on Monday, there were six individual wolf sightings reported to conservation officers, both near the hospital and in various areas of Prince Rupert. Wolves can run in packs, however a solitary lone wolf is not unusual. Schley said the descriptions officers are receiving definitely indicate there is more than one wolf, based on colouring and size.
Whether or not there is enough work to warrant a full-time, permanent, conservation officer to be posted in Prince Rupert is a matter of debate, Schley said. The work is fairly steady in the spring, summer and fall with more bear interactions.
The four officers, posted in Terrace, work in a zone model covering Terrace, Kitimat, Nass Valley, Prince Rupert and Port Edward.
Schley said he is aware of previous requests made for a conservation officer to be placed in the Prince Rupert and Port Edward areas, but the Ministry of Environment has previously declined the requests.