Search underway for wolf that killed dog in Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Animal poses a risk to the public, says government
A wolf that killed a dog in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is a "significant public safety risk," says a provincial government official.
The animal has been spotted roaming the area for the past week, with posts appearing on social media.
"It's gone beyond an animal that's just in town poking around of garbage," John Pisapio, senior wildlife biologist in the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, told CBC's Labrador Morning on Tuesday.
Officials with the department's Wildlife division confirmed to CBC that the wolf killed a dog on weekend.
"This animal does pose a significant public safety risk, so efforts are currently underway to locate and destroy that animal."
But despite online speculation that there's a pack of wolves in the area, Pisapio said the department believes it's a lone wolf.
"There's been a fair amount of ground work that has been done, so to the best of our understanding, we think there's only one animal involved here," Pisapio told CBCs Labrador Morning on Tuesday.
Wolves usually stay away from urban areas and people, but Pisapio says the access to food in bigger centres plays a role in drawing animals into communities.
"These food attractions are the root of the problem, and once these animals become reliant upon those food resources — and it usually starts with garbage — things elevate from there," Pisapio said.
Wildlife officials have set up locations to trap the animal, said Pisapio. The areas are out of the way and are clearly marked, he said, adding that anyone who encounters a wild animal should stay calm.
"The general rule of thumb if you come across an animal that's being aggressive is you don't run," he said. "You stand your ground and assess the situation, you don't corner the animal, and you back away slowly. If an animal is being aggressive, you might want to shout and kind of be a little aggressive."
The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Tuesday advised residents to protect their pets by keeping them inside, and to properly store garbage to prevent attracting any wild animals.
A press release from the town also reminds people that wolf-hunting season doesn't open until Oct. 15 and that it's illegal to fire a gun within one kilometre of a school, playground or athletic field, or 300 metres of a dwelling.
Wildlife officials also encourage anyone who sees the wolf to call the North West River Forestry and Wildlife office at 709-897-8479, or 709-897-7116 after hours.