Conservation officers are recommending that an island just kilometres from Oak Bay be closed to the public after a family’s encounter with the island’s famous “lone wolf.”

A rare marine rescue unfolded on Discovery Island – part provincial park, part First Nation – when the wolf began following a visiting family and their dog.

The family was reportedly concerned about the wolf’s proximity, and climbed onto the roof of an abandoned lighthouse station while they used a marine radio to call the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for help.

The wolf had tracked their dog to protected First Nations land on the island, where pets aren’t allowed.

A nearby Coast Guard vessels with Conservation Officers aboard located the family quickly and escorted them back to their boat.

“I think they were just happy to get back to their boat,” said JRCC’s Capt. Gregory Clarke. “No indications that they were terribly scared, but certainly concerned.”

But others say the wolf, known as an island mainstay over the last four years, has never shown signs of aggression.

“I’m surprised that there would be anything interpreted as a negative interaction with the wolf,” said Ian Cesarec of Marine Enforcement for Songhees First Nation. “There’ve been many interactions with the wolf that I’ve had and others that I hear from, but never has there been any aggression. I’d say remote curiosity at best.”

Cesarec said campfires in the area have been attractants for the wolf, and others have even put out dog food for the animal.

“My personal feeling, exclusive of anything I do here, is that the more attention this wolf gets, in fact the more risk it will run into with human interaction,” he said.

The Songhees First Nation said its wishes to keep the animal wild have been ignored.

Conservationist Chris Darimont agreed, saying it might be time to make the term “lone wolf” a reality.

“If we were ever to give an animal a whole island, this is the context that we should consider this,” said Darimont.

The Songhees people and wolf lovers might get their way. Conservation officers are now recommending BC Parks close Discovery Island for the fall and winter, giving the isolated wolf the seclusion he craves.