Warning after wolves slink back into town By James Vassallo, The Daily News

Published: Friday, January 26, 2007

A new year is bringing with it yet another batch of wolf sightings by Rupert residents.

Recently a local women and her family was approached by an animal before passing motorists frightened it off.

“We were heading towards McDonalds a couple of days ago and we got to that crossing before the Civic Center and it came from the westside towards us,” said Pamela Gonzalez, who was walking with her husband and children along McBride Street.

“It was coming close to us but two or three cars scared it away … and it just went bombing down (Hays Creek).”

It was a lone wolf in this case and described by the Rupert woman as “about dog size, although it runs like a cheetah”. No one was injured, although the family was frightened.

“It was coming towards us before the car came and my kids were really scared, said Gonzalez. They’re okay now but they get scared when they walk at night.

“It just ran so fast, it was so scary.

Last summer, there were a number of sightings at the golf course and the city dump. Conservation officials confirmed that there was indeed a pack of wolves roaming that area, but that it would be highly unusual for them to approach humans.

Although this did happen in one case, Conservation officers explained they had very limited options when dealing with wolves due to it being an urban area. The main options are generally leg-hold traps, which often means putting pets at risk, or shooting the wolves, which puts people at risk.

An employee at the dump had his dog chased by a wolf last May after people were spotted feeding the animals in the area a serious crime. The wolf was destroyed near the landfill a week later after it came right up to a Conservation officer sent from Terrace to investigate. The wolf was expecting to be fed.

The so-called scraggly wolf with a limp that had aggressively approached a number of people and that killed several small pets in town was shot by Conservation Officers near Cow Bay in August 2005. In February 2005, a wolf was also shot in the Sherbrooke area of the city.

Conservation recommends that people keep their pets — a major attractant to wolves — on a leash. People should consider carrying a walking stick and think about whether they will be in an area where wildlife interactions may occur. The landfill, golf course and Butze Rapids are prime areas for wildlife encounters.

If people are approached by a wolf or a pack of wolves, they should back away from the area don’t turn and run. Try to look as big and intimidating as possible by yelling and waving and leave the area immediately.

If people are approached by a wolf or wolves they should report the incident to Conservation at 1-877-952-7277. Call police only if it is an immediate threat.

Our Response
To the editor,
In response to
Warning after wolves slink back into town By James Vassallo, The Daily News” Jan 26, 2007.
The wolves on Kaien Island have not slinked back into town but have been here many a millennia. The wolves have been using the hayscove creek trail to go from the one side of town to the back side of Mount Hays for a number of months. They use a lot of the micro forests like the deer do. At this point I have only witnessed prints on and near wantage road. I have however seen wolves on the other side of the mountain near the turn of to Ridley Island. I know there have been a few wolves killed, one by a vehicle, and the others have been wounded by deer or even humans. If the Alpha male has been killed this may have lead the pack to separate or more plausible is that a few of the 2 to 3 years olds that were with the pack have separated to make there own pack, as the wolves that have been spotted near the Civic center have been seen in two’s a few times.

I would like to stress that we are not the only community to have wolves as neighbours, Port Ed area has a rich history of wolves near and around their community there is at least two packs that are found on each side of their small town, Dodge and Crippen Cove found on Digby Island also have a pack of wolves. Metlakatla also has a pack of wolves near their community that frequent the salt lakes. Out at Kloya bay there is a pack of wolves.
The rain wolves as they are called are genetically different then the Gray wolves we see in the interior, Alaska, and the Rockies. The rain wolves that are found here are some what smaller, there also have red color in their fur. They have diet that not only consists of deer but consists of shell fish, and even salmon, but only eat the heads.

Its been said we have a deer problem on Kaien Island, this is true and with out the wolves the deer’s only real predator, the deer would eat everything, multiply and with two many deer and not enough food, disease might set in and spread from deer to house hold pets.

There are studies being done of dump sites and wolves in urban communities. Like our fine city the planners didn’t plan to well by placing the first dump site well within town limits, during that time bears were the kings and probably kept the wolves away. So then the city builds a dump out near Ridley Island they put a electrified fence around it to keep the bears out, but in doing so other scavengers and predators were drawn in closer. Double shame on the city for leaving electrified gates opens after hours, why use a fence if you leave a gate open for the weekend?
Humans on this island treat it as a dumpsite drive down wantage road or the old road to the industrial site road you can find beds, couches, house hold appliances, TV’s and such, so who is to blame? The city will not go out and clean it up due to I’m sure budgetary needs. I also have photos of whole crabs in large plastic bags along the road as well as salmon. Then this past few months hunters have dumped two moose or elk carcasses out along wantage road and the wolves have been spotted eating the remains. Its no wonder wolves are found so close to town.

Dont get me wrong if we have problem wolves, then they need to be dealt with. In a previous letter to the editor, I suggested live traps and removing the wolves off island to work channel. I also believe in some instances wolves may have to be killed.
Since we started a webpage dedicated to the Kaien island rain wolves, we have brought attention to the wolves found here and we have had people on the street tell us their stories of encounters with the rain wolves all have been non-threatening encounters with a magical but misunderstood animal.

When you go out to grassy bay, you are in the wilderness and in any wilderness there will be wild animals, there is a reason you see the warning about pets and wolves there. You want to take your dog for a walk go to the water front, common sense is all that is needed. Use a leash with your pets. If a wolf or wolves come towards you, yell and scream at it, don’t run, walk away slowly, also keep pets in at night and make sure garbage is in bins. The wolves in town are young and inquisitive and may leave the area if people stop using the city as a garbage dump, and dumping animal remains out at wantage road.

David L Watson
Stacey Lavigne


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