Motion detection wildlife cameras caught this image of a wolf at The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Willowbrae-Halfmoon Bay Trail. (Photo - Pacific Rim National Park Reserve)

VIDEO: Tofino wolf sighting awes AdventureSmart coordinator

Be prepared to encounter wildlife in Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Sandra Riches is still in awe of a breathtaking encounter she had with a coastal grey wolf in Tofino last week.

“It took me totally off guard and it really shocked me. I felt really fortunate that I was having this opportunity just one on one, because there was nobody else on the beach. It was just the two of us, so it felt like a moment of a lifetime,” she told the Westerly News on Sunday. “I was just mesmerized and felt really struck by the whole experience…It was really special for me.”

Riches spotted the animal alone on MacKenzie Beach around 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 29 while exploring her surroundings outside Tofino’s Ocean Village Resort and was thrilled to capture the experience on video.

“I put on my phone and decided to video myself walking down the boardwalk there and as I was walking towards the beach I saw something come out of the corner of the left hand of the screen,” she said. “I just felt really fortunate and honoured to see such a healthy creature in its environment.”

Riches said she has enjoyed many wildlife sightings in the over 25 years she’s spent in outdoor recreation management, but the Tofino wolf stands out among them.

“This adds to the list and I’d say it’s right at the top,” she said adding that she never felt scared of the animal. “I felt comfortable and more in the moment than probably I have been in a while…No fear at all. That didn’t even cross my mind.”

She posted her wolf encounter online and the video was shared widely around social media, including by Tofino mayor Josie Osborne who posted the video to her ‘Tofino mayor’ Facebook page and urged residents to use the encounter as a reminder to be aware of the wildlife around them.

“Here’s a very visual reminder that we are living amongst wildlife,” Osborne wrote. “That’s the time of day I am often walking my dog on a local beach, how about you? Please, take good care of your domestic animals AND the wild animals by keeping your pets close, under control, and leashed.”

Riches coordinates AdventureSmart in B.C. and was visiting the West Coast to meet with Parks Canada around preventing incidents around shorelines.

“We’re all about outdoor safety, personal preparedness and situational awareness,” she said. “It’s about incident prevention and how we can be prepared and safe.”

She added that she was happy to share her experience and video with Parks Canada staff, who were pleased to see the wolf showed no signs of habituation.

“He sensed me or saw me because he stopped and, as you can see in the video, he kind of glanced in my direction and then turned and went back where he came from. So, from Parks Canada’s perspective he did exactly what he should have. He didn’t act habituated or anything of the sort,” she said.

She said her encounter shows the importance of researching locations before exploring them.

“We can be ‘adventure smart’ in many ways. We can be prepared with gear, but mentally we can be prepared as well and that can really get us through situations,” she said. “This was a once in a lifetime chance, but there are signs posted throughout your community of the wildlife in the area and that’s my responsibility to educate myself about what’s in the area…Do your own homework before you head out so that you are aware of wildlife situations.”

She said AdventureSmart is working closely with Parks Canada on preventing incidents and promoting the CoastSmart program to help locals and visitors stay safe around West Coast shorelines.

The group is hoping local businesses can help deliver CoastSmart messaging to visitors this summer and asks anyone interested in helping spread the safety messaging to reach out to her at bccoordinator@adventuresmart.ca or 1-604-671-2241.

“We’re trying to primarily work closely with the outfitters, so that they can help us increase awareness to the visitors of town,” she said. “If anyone is interested in partnering up with us, we’re here for you. We’d love to get this ball rolling. We’ve got it started and the more people the merrier that can jump on board.”

READ MORE: Wolves kill dog on Tofino beach

READ MORE: Author presents wolf research in Tofino

READ MORE: Wolf attack prompts dog-ban at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

READ MORE: Wolf killed in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve between Tofino and Ucluelet



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach cinema group reaches fundraising goal

Organization wants to see a multi-use cinema in town

Man taken to hospital after driving off road in Qualicum Beach

51-year-old man from Port Alberni struck parked vehicle

City of Parksville rejected sharps disposal containers from Island Health

Mayor says cost of maintaining boxes too much for city

Parksville hopes ‘cookies and carols’ become annual holiday tradition

Free, all-ages community event set for next month

Man, 50, dies following incident in downtown Parksville

Teenage girl hailed as hero for intervening after witnessing situation unfold

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Campbell River RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

Officer expected to make a full recovery; had been conducting impaired driving investigation alone

BC SPCA seeks help after senior cat attacked by dog twice

Nine-year-old tabby named Meow Meow will need her front leg amputated

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

Striking Vancouver hotel workers, employer reach ‘tentative’ agreement

Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia have been out at picket lines since talks broke off on Sept. 21

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

Most Read