Conservationists say wolves near Tofino have shown some troubling behaviour in recent encounters, prompting a warning for anyone spending time on Vancouver Island’s west coast.
It’s nothing new for people to spot the predators around Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, but the park’s resource conservation manager Renee Wissink says an encounter that took place on Florencia Bay Beach last week shows some wolves are becoming more brazen.
“A couple of wolves approached some visitors, and again, it’s not unusual to have wolves on our beaches, that’s very common. But in this incident they didn’t have a lot of fear of people, so that’s always a bit concerning to us,” said Wissink.
He said the wolves have been spotted in packs of up to seven, patrolling area beaches for food.
Sightings are also on the rise closer to Tofino and Ucluelet. Posts on social media talk about wolves being spotted in backyards and possible wolf tracks being left in the area.
“Normal behaviour for a wolf is when he sees you, he should be as frightened as you are of him and he should be going the other way,” Wissink said. “So if that’s not the behaviour, then we ask people to try to scare them away, try to make noise.”
He urged parents to keep their kids close and to keep pets on leashes at all times when in wolf territory, as required by the National Parks Act.
“We share this landscape of course, but I guess what we’ve shown here is that if everybody plays their part, we can co-exist with wolves and the other carnivores we find here, the bears and cougars,” said Wissink.
Parks Canada warning signs remain posted in Pacific Rim Park warning of an increase in wolf activity in and around the Long Beach unit of the park reserve.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Gord Kurbis