A possible wolf sighting at Grace Lake Tuesday is a good reminder that Yellowknife is wolf territory says wildlife officer Lee Mandeville.
“Sightings around the edges of our communities are not unusual and we have to remember Yellowknife is surrounded by wildlife.”
Carrie Roberts says she has seen coyotes and foxes near her Grace Lake home, but never a wolf. She was surprised to see it approaching her house Tuesday.
“It was a big animal. I have a picture of him walking away, but he doesn’t look as big walking away as when he was coming.”
Wolves are spotted year-round in the Yellowknife area and sightings may indicate there are food sources or ‘attractants’ drawing wolves closer to town. Mandeville says residents should avoid leaving food, including pet food, out and secure all bins including garbage and recycling.
Another attractant comes from people feeding wildlife he says. “People feeding ptarmigans or ravens or gulls, they think it’s doing animals a favour but really you’re attracting…animals that pose a risk to the public.”
Wolf and human conflicts are rare, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources guide states.
What to do if you encounter a wolf (ENR):
■ Raise your arms to make yourself appear as large as possible
■ Act aggressively towards it – make noise and throw objects
■ Do not turn your back on the wolf and do not run
■ If the wolf does not run away immediately, continue making yourself large, maintaining eye contact, and backing away
■ Calmly, but slowly back away and maintain eye contact
If you spot a wolf that looks comfortable around people, seeks out human food or frequents areas where humans are, report this to your local ENR office. The North Slave Regional Office can be reached at 867-767-9238 extension 53247.