British Columbia

Wolf stalks woman walking dog

People in Prince Rupert say there's a wolf on their city streets, in backyards, and even stalking a woman as she walked her dog along the waterfront.

Lone wolf blamed for stalking dog walker in Prince Rupert

Bonnie Rudderham said this wolf stalked and chased her while she was walking her dog near Prince Rupert's waterfront. (Bonnie Rudderham/Facebook)

A series of unusual animal sightings near downtown Prince Rupert is prompting some locals to cry wolf.

Wolves are common on the wilder fringes of the northern port city, including the golf course and a hiking trail.

But now there are several reports of a wolf prowling city streets close to the waterfront and stalking and chasing a woman walking her dog in daylight.

Lone wolf 

Conservation Services Officer Ryan Gordon said a lone wolf is believed to be responsible.

Avoid wooded areas at dawn and dusk...- Conservation Officer Ryan Gordon

"If you have a small child, keep them close by," said Gordon. "Avoid those wooded areas at dawn and dusk. If you have a pet with you, keep it on a leash."

None of that advice helped Bonnie Rudderham, who has lived in Prince Rupert for a half century.  

She was walking her dog along a waterfront walkway last Thursday when she encountered a wolf.

"I look back and there's a wolf right on the walkway just staring at us," Rudderham told CBC Radio's Daybreak North.

'That wolf has been stalking you!'

When Rudderham and her dog reached a nearby condominium complex, "a woman came out on her balcony and said, 'Hey, that wolf has been stalking you!'" 

The wolf barreled down the hill towards us..- Bonnie Rudderham 

"It had been lying on its belly, creeping through the grass as we were walking," said Rudderham.

"I thought, I better get out of here. I started to run with my dog but the woman on the balcony shouted to stop running. As soon as I stopped, the wolf barreled down the hill towards us."

Rudderham says an approaching car eventually scared it away.

'I better get out of here'

She reported the incident to the conservation service and was advised to carry bear spray.

Rudderham was shaken, but says it's natural for the wolves to follow their food source into the city, from  dens on the outskirts of town.

There's so many deer, it's like a banquet.- Bonnie Rudderham

"There's so many deer [here in town] and it's just like a banquet. So the wolves are heading in and they're getting bolder and bolder."

Conservation officer Gordon says he's fielded half a dozen reports from people who have also sent in photos of the wolf. Gordon says it's believed to be a sub-adult that's not part of a pack.

"We've been making patrols and trying to get more information, like is it habituated," said Gordon.

Wolf sightings and warnings are now a popular topic on social media in Prince Rupert.

Meaghan Brooke  posted a video of the wolf playing with her dog's toys.

With files from George Baker and Daybreak North