'Significant' increase in wolf sightings in Prince Rupert prompts warning from conservation service
Service says wolves have attacked dogs and cats, and one approached a woman with a stroller
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is issuing a warning after noting a "significant" increase in wolf sightings in Prince Rupert.
According to a written statement, the office has received reports about several dogs and cats being attacked, while other pets have gone missing.
No people have been attacked, but a woman pushing her child in a stroller said she was approached by a wolf, which left after she kicked it.
The majority of the sightings have been at night and in the early morning, mostly near the golf course and ferry terminal.
Zane Testawich, a conservation officer in Terrace, said there is often a surge in wolf sightings at this time of year, but this year has seen a significant increase.
He said the population of feral cats could be drawing wolves into town, as well as garbage left on trails, and unsecured garbage overflowing from bins.
"Normal activity will bring the wolves into the community and for a variety of reasons they are right now kind of targeting the feral cats and loose dog population," he said.
"I think the best way to deal with the population is to ensure that if you have pets you are keeping them inside. If you are going to walk the dog outside at night, I'd be keeping it on a leash."
Testawich said people should be ensuring they take out their garbage on garbage days, and ensure it's in a secured bin. If you're aware of a neighbour who has mobility issues, offer to help that person out.
If you encounter a wolf, Testawich advises making yourself seem as large as possible, picking up a stick or a rock, and directing the animal — with your voice and gestures — to move away from you.
He said it's important to immediately report all wolf sightings by calling 1-877-952-7277.
With files from Matt Allen