A wolf in the Pheasant Glen Golf Resort area in Qualicum Beach has attacked dogs.
Conservation officers are warning people to be aware of the wolf hanging out in the area, but point out it hasn’t threatened humans.
“People should always be aware, but we’ve had some complaints in the last month or so about a wolf that has started to go after dogs,” said conservation officer Steve Ackles.
He said the brown and black Vancouver Island wolf has not shown any aggression to humans and in fact one man just had to get between his dog and the wolf and the wolf took off.
Ackles said the wolf — like most on the Island — is likely cross-bred with dogs and is estimated in the 100 lb (45 kg) range, which he called large for a dog, but not compared to larger wolves like timber wolves.
He also pointed out that because they are actually wild animals, with wild instincts, a wolf can easily take on a dog much larger than itself.
Ackels said they have several reports of off-leash dogs being attacked on the trails around Pheasant Glen when the dogs were out of the sight of their owners. He said there are no reports of dogs being killed, suggesting the wolf is just being territorial and may be protecting pups.
“The most important thing is don’t let it feel comfortable, make sure it’s not a dog first, with a collar, but stand tall, yell at it, throw things at it,” Ackels said.
He said people should avoid bringing dogs into the area for now, but if you do, keep it on a leash.
“We just hope it leaves the area on its own and goes back to the pack,” he said, suggesting if it continues to injure dogs or show aggression to humans they may have to take action.
“Wolves are rare in this area, unlike the west coast and north of the Island,” he said, “and we don’t want it to start to see dogs as food.”
He said, because of the rarity and description, it is likely the same wolf seen around Hamilton Marsh in April.
Ackles encourages everyone, especially those who spend time in the wilderness, to visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/wild_gen.html to learn more about animal encounters and to report all sightings of wolves, bears and cougars to 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) to help them track behaviour.