A fearless wolf pack in Pacific Rim National Park has prompted the establishment of a new wildlife tracking program that the wildlife specialists hope will reduce contact between animals and people.
The five member wolf pack was first seen on Long Beach near Tofino, B.C. last November and has become an attraction for park visitors, who stop and watch them near the highway for extended periods of time.
"They're basically lying in the open, which is somewhat unnatural behaviour. They should be somewhat more of a secretive animal," says the park's human-wildlife conflict specialist Todd Windle.
The new program, which began as a pilot project last summer, will teach people how to recognize animal tracks left along Long Beach, while discouraging them from actually seeking out wildlife.
"You can actually follow those tracks down the beach and get an insight into what they were doing. How many of were there? Where were they going? What were they maybe looking at? Were they feeding on anything? Were they marking any territories? That was really successful and we're hoping to have something like that again this year," says Windle.
Windle says frequent human-wildlife contact can make animals less fearful of people, which often does not end well for the animals. He hopes the program will help protect the park's precious fauna.
"Let's use this opportunity to make sure that we all have an important role to play to keep them wild," says Windle.