Suicide Creek trail users have voiced concerns after a wolf was recently spotted in the Duck Lake area.
According to Powell River conservation officer Andrew Anaka, the wolf is likely a member of the number of coastal packs living the area.
“Sightings are relatively rare, but people are running and biking out there with dogs,” said Anaka, “and wolves might see them as competitors.”
While Anaka said wolves rarely attack people, the likelihood of adverse animal interactions increases when dogs are involved.
“Even a big dog can be considered dinner for a wolf,” said Anaka, who recommends people keep dogs on a leash and have bear spray handy on trails.
Wolf biologist Ian McAllister, co-founder of Pacific Wild, a non-profit organization working to develop strategies to conserve coastal wildlife and habitat, said wolves are less likely to be territorial at this time of year because they are no longer denning and protective of young pups.
“There are probably fewer than 1,000 wolves throughout the mainland coast,” he said, “although it is hard to say how much human-induced mortality is affecting wolves on the Sunshine Coast.”
In prior years, Anaka said wolves have been seen in Myrtle Point, Wildwood and Paradise Valley, but there have been very few adverse encounters.
In 2013, the Peak reported on a dog who survived a wolf attack in the area of Cedar Crest Road at the top of Nootka Street.
Anaka said last year only four wolf sightings were reported, including one unconfirmed sighting in the Willingdon Beach area.
This year the only wolf Anaka said he’s seen was an adult female found shot dead near the five kilometre marker on branch two of Duck Lake Road on November 23.
“If you find a wolf you can kill it if you have a hunting license,” said Anaka.
Hunters are allowed to kill three wolves a season between September 10 and March 31 and are permitted to leave their wolf kills in the bush.
To report wolf sightings, or for more information, call BC Conservation Officer Service at 1.877.952.7277.