Don’t feed them and keep your distance, say council and local wolf-watchers
By Christian Webber
The Daily News
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Pages one and two

With several wolf sightings being reported from around the community, people are being asked to educate themselves about how to live with the surrounding wildlife.

The city has received numerous calls lately, and councilors asked people this week not to feed the wolves or the deer that attract them.

“I think this is really about educating people, said Coun. Kathy Bedard.

Most wolves are not dangerous to humans and there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning than being injured by a wolf, added David Watson and Stacey Lavigne, who have been studying and photographing wolves for nearly two years.

Even though they are not known for killing humans, in today’s world people are making wolves more comfortable by feeding them, and making them more brave by destroying their dens, forcing them to roam the streets.

Watson and Lavigne are hoping everyone stays safe along with their dogs, too.

“They are on the move now, there is no way to tell where they are staying, the pups are just about ready to leave their den site,” said Watson.

Once that happens in August, they take the pups and they go and show the area to the younger ones. That was witnessed last year by Watson, as he watched them cross the golf course for the first time during daylight.

Lavigne said that their main goal is to bring awareness to people about how wolves are not dangerous, as long as people obey the same rules.

She said when people are out walking dogs, they should be wary because we’re surrounded by many thousand miles of forest.

Sometimes wolves will think dogs are another kind of wolf, even, if it is on a leash. Lavigne warns people to make sure not to step between a wolf and any prey, even if that prey is your dog.

“If you want to walk your dog, walk it at the waterfront , that’s where it will be safe,” said Watson.

He said wolves are presently hanging around near Mount Hays and the golf course. The ones here are about 60-70 pounds. He said there is no such thing as a big wolf anymore. Also, the ones here are genetically different from timber wolves and gray wolves.

The wolves here can have coats of many colors, from gray to reddish, and in the sun they can look blond or golden brown.

Watson thinks recent ‘cougar’ sightings are actually wolves because of the colour described. He said he has also not seen scat or paw prints from a big cat and believes are climate is not right for them.

Gray wolves eat mostly deer, moose, caribou. Also medium sized mammals such as beaver can be an important secondary food source.

In Canada, their territories can range from 300 to 1,000 square miles. He said they have always been in Prince Rupert.

Lavigne pointed out that while pregnant, she went out taking photos of wolves and came within 20 feet and had no fear of them.

But they said people should definitely not feed them.

“See them, observe them and enjoy it, but don’t feed them or bring your dog out,” said Lavigne.

She said if you come close to a wolf, or they come close to you, make lots of noise, throw things at it and scare it, make sure it knows it shouldn’t be near humans.

Watson believes the local pack will soon move on because of all the construction going on.

Either they will leave Kaien Island and go to Digby Island or back into Port Edward, he said. He estimates that they could seem to Digby Island in less than 45 minutes.

“They are here because we have an overabundance in deer,” he said.

“We don’t have a wolf problem we have a deer problem.

If you walk your dogs on known problem trails around town and you and your dog are followed, or attacked who is to blame? you are probably not going to see a wolf the chances are low but is it really worth that chance…I myself dont have a pet dog and if I did, there would be a few places I would not go with him/her around here, just for the above reasons.


wolf warning Sign,

I think more of these should be posted around town were people walk there dogs..
Wolf Warning Sign

Daily News letter to the editor

‘Angel’ saved us from wolf

to the editor,
On Monday evening, I went for a walk by the seaplane base as I usually do with my two dogs ( a golden retriever and a small maltese/cock-apoo).
What was different is that I am so grateful we made it home safe and with my dogs and myself intact!
It was a normal evening for me walking with my dogs down in front of North Pacific Seaplanes and inland Air, doing the usual ball throw routine. It was getting late, so I then decided to make my way back towards my car at Maclean’s shipyard along the old bridge and trail. As I was embarking the bridge, I stopped and started chatting to another lady who was also alone walking her dog. As we were chatting all of a sudden a man in a pick-up truck drove up quickly and asked us if one of us would come quick and look at something. He asked twice and kept pointing towards the gravel pit behind Inland air. I thought it was a strange request but he looked worried about something so I went to see what it was. He pointed again and said “see that wolf there behind the white camper” which was about 50 feet away “he has been stalking you and your dogs, particularly the little white dog since you were around North Pacific Seaplanes.” I looked and yes there was a wolf lurking there, very close to us.
Well, both of us girls’ hearts almost stopped! We didn’t even think of wolves and both of us were on foot!
I told the man that I was parked in MacLean’s shipyard and my new acquaintance said didn’t even have a vehicle at al, she had walked from 6 east.
The nice man then offered to drive us to my vehicle and I offered to take the lady and her dog home from there.
As we were quickly loading, the dogs and myself into the back of the pick-up truck we spoke with him he also told us there is a pack of wolves that howl at night that are living in near where he is staying at the VIH hanger. When he saw me walking my dogs near North Pacific Seaplanes he thought he better see if the wolves were around and looked and saw the one stalking me and the dogs. He then followed me in his vehicle to warn me and tell me what was happening. As we drove out of inland Air’s parking lot and up the hill and over to McLean’s shipyard we drove right past the wolf who just stood there and looked at us, not afraid at all, I don’t think it had any intention on giving up on stalking my dog or us but we were now safe. When we got back to my Vehicle, we quickly loaded the dogs in to my car and thanked the man “our angel” for saving the dogs and us from this wolf. Mark from VIH, I am so grateful you followed us and helped us get home safely. You were our angel watching over us!

Thank- you so much!
Karin Ljungh

Our response to the Daily News.

To the editor:
Wolves in town.
I would like to thank Karin Ljungh for bringing to the attention of the good people or Prince Rupert to be cautious when walking your dogs near and through the wooded area’s. Our micro forest’s are inhabited with wild animals, like deer, marmots, mice, rats and stray cats, these animals in turn bring in predator’s like the bears and wolves. These predators don’t really like to be around humans and will do their best not to be seen, but like most predators they have huge territories that they travel on and do not like other predators roaming their area. Unfortunately wolves and bears are not aware that our house dogs are tame and don’t mean any harm. Predators see our dogs as competition and will chase away or kill it. People have to remember that wolves do not like people, and when your with your dog it’s not you their focused on it’s your dog, it’s their competition they want to eliminate. When wild animals become to use to people that’s when we will have troubles.
Wolves often loose their fear of humans through habituation and will also often approach camp grounds, homes and towns. We still hear of many cases of people that feed the wolves around the dump area and the industrial site, causing the wolves to loose their fear of humans. When this happens, there is an increased possibility for conflict between wolves and humans, so it is very important that you DO NOT FEED THE WOLVES!! Feed all pets indoors; leave no food outdoors. If a wolf acts aggressively like growls or snarls, or acts fearless when approached I suggest you take the following actions:
1) Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself look larger.
2) Back away slowly, do not turn your back to the wolf.
3) Make noise and throw objects at the wolf.
Most wolves are not dangerous to humans and there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning, a bee sting or a car collision than being injured by a wolf. The injuries that have occurred by wolves were caused by a few wolves that have become fearless of humans due to habituation. Nonetheless, like bears and cougars, wolves are instinctive predators that should be kept wild and should be respected, and keep pets on a leash and near you at all times.
Thanks again
David Watson
Stacey Lavigne

wolf warning Sign,

I think more of these should be posted around town were people walk there dogs..
Wolf Warning Sign

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