B.C. island inhabited by lone wolf closed to visitors until spring
Published Monday, September 19, 2016 5:08PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, September 19, 2016 6:30PM PDT
The lone wolf of Discovery Island is getting some unprecedented privacy.
The B.C. provincial park will be closed to the public – at least until spring – following a family’s encounter with the well-known wolf earlier this month, thanks to a recommendation made by the BC Conservation Officer Service.
The plan is to conduct a behavioural assessment on the wolf, which has been known to reside there for at least the last four years.
Those responsible for the island, which includes First Nations Reserve lands, hailed the closure as a victory for the lone wolf and for those who want it to be left alone.
“I think it’s fantastic they’ve taken the steps to provide some more preservation and protection for the wolf on the public lands of Discovery,” said Ian Cesarec of Songhees First Nation Marine Enforcement. “Songhees has their own initiative for the preservation and protection of their property and their lands, which the wolf is frequenting back and forth, so I think this is just fantastic.”
A marine rescue took place on the island last week after a family climbed onto an abandoned lighthouse roof to escape the wolf, which they felt was stalking their dog.
A Coast Guard vessel escorted them back to their boat without incident.
Cesarec maintained the wolf was likely just curious and not acting aggressively toward the family.
“The interactions that I’ve spoken to with the public and people who’ve been over there have always been that the wolf is never any closer than 20 feet away and seems to mind his own business,” said Cesarec. “I don’t think he really minds either way.”
Photographer Cheryl Alexander told CTV News she’s been documenting the lone wolf for some time and has never had a negative interaction with it.
“It’s not like we’re best friends, he doesn’t cozy up to me, but he maintains a very healthy distance with people,” she said.
She called it a “shame” that one interaction with a family who illegally took a dog to the island has now put the park off-limits to anyone else who might want to go there.
“I think that it’s also a shame that they haven’t come forward to describe the behaviour of the wolf, because the behaviour of the wolf most likely wasn’t aggressive,” she said. “A possible reaction to a wolf perceived to be aggressive is to kill the animal, and I’m very worried for the wolf that the actions of these individuals may possibly negatively affect his existence out there.”
BC Parks said it expects to reopen the park in spring 2017, but will inform the public of an exact date on its website.