The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has issued a public advisory after receiving several reports of wolf sightings in the Timmins area.
A local ministry spokesperson told The Daily Press, “the calls have been coming mostly from the west side of Timmins” — which would be in the Mountjoy area.
“Even though wolves are shy and generally avoid humans, they can lose their fear of humans if they learn to associate people with easily available food,” the MNRF stated in a release. “When this happens, wolves may repeatedly approach homes and people.”
While aggressive behaviour by wolves toward people is uncommon, the public is nonetheless being advised to use caution “when any wild animals are close.”
“If you see a wolf, keep your distance and the animal will most likely avoid you,” the ministry stated, adding that safe practices for wolf encounters are the same as those with any potentially aggressive animal:
• Never approach or touch a wild animal;
• Do not turn your back or run from a wild animal;
• Back away from the animal while remaining calm;
• Stand tall, wave your hands, and make lots of noise;
• Carry a flashlight at night; and
• If a wild animal poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911.
The ministry also provided tips to prevent property owners from inadvertently attracting wolves and protecting their pets:
• Do not feed wolves (or other wildlife) — either intentionally or unintentionally. It attracts them to your property, makes them less fearful of humans, and makes them accustomed to food provided by humans;
• Wolves are attracted to products containing meat, milk and eggs. Properly store and maintain garbage containers. Put garbage at curbside the morning of the scheduled pickup rather than the night before;
• Well-lit yards or the use of motion sensor lighting may make your property less attractive to wolves and other nocturnal wildlife;
• Keep pet food indoors;
• Keep pets inside at night;
• Keep pets on leashes; and
• Do not let your pets wonder unsupervised unless confined to a fenced yard.