A wolf that ventured onto the grounds of a Ucluelet elementary school Friday has been killed by conservation officers who say it was dangerously habituated to humans.
The wolf had been sought for the last three days after it was believed to have attacked two dogs in the area, according to conservation officer Steve Ackles.
“It was elevated to the point where it was approaching people and attacking dogs on leashes, and it had been right outside the elementary school playground around 11 a.m.,” Ackles said.
He said the kids were kept inside the school during their lunch hour when the animal was tracked down and destroyed at around 12:30 p.m.
Weighing public safety, Ackles said the decision was made to destroy the animal because it was continually testing boundaries, such as approaching parked cars because it had likely been fed by passersby before.
The wolf became habituated because people in the area either weren’t keeping dogs on leashes or weren’t doing enough to scare it off, Ackles said.
“You’re just tempting wolves when you’ve got a dog out in the middle of the beach,” he said. “This wolf died because people allowed this to happen.”
He said residents of Ucluelet have stepped up, however, since a town hall meeting was held last Wednesday due to ongoing wolf encounters on western Vancouver Island.
He encouraged people to continue to use air horns or other means to make the animals feel unwelcome in town.
He also urged anyone who has a wildlife encounter to report it immediately to the RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277, as officers can intervene before habituation gets out of hand.
The wolf’s death comes weeks after another wolf was put down in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on May 28 for attacking a dog.
A wolf advisory has been in place for the park since November of last year due to multiple encounters.