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Backyard sighting raises fear of wolves
It's not very often wolves are spotted in folk's backyards in Cowichan.
It's hardly common to spot them at all.
But for Duncan's Julia Henry, she may be one of few Cowichanians who's seen them up close.
"It was quite late. I was having a sleepover with my nieces and nephews over and we heard howling quite aways away," Henry said the Aug. 30 incident from the house she stays at with her dad on Khenipsen Road.
"It didn't sound like a dog," she said. "And then we heard something get at the garbage."
One of the children staying at Henry's place said they saw something black crouching outside.
"We went to the front of the house, and my car was parked right in front... and they saw something move behind the vehicle. We were peeking out the front windows... and then kids ran up-stairs, they started screaming, they said it was a wolf."
Although Henry was skeptical at first, thinking it was more likely stray dogs, she went upstairs to see for herself out the same window.
"They were all standing there, staring at the front door," Henry said, noting four animals that looked like wolves all about a metre tall.
"It’s rare," she said of sightings.
B.C. Conservation Sgt. Scott Norris agreed.
"Given the location, I don't know for sure if it's a pack," Norris said Thursday. "We've had no other sightings of a pack in the area."
Norris noted there are many wolf-dog hybrids and Henry's visitors may just fall into that category, or there's the possibility they're a pack of wild dogs.
But he couldn't say for sure as he hasn't seen the canine's Henry's referring to himself or any photos of them.
"There are wolves in the Cowichan Valley, not too far outside of Duncan," Norris said. "There are definitely wolves as you start heading Lake Cowichan way and we've had sightings in Mill Bay as well," he said.
Most sightings are of the typical coastal wolves, that swim, eat salmon, and live on marine resources and are grey with hints of white and sometimes a rusty kind of colour around their noses.
The pack Henry saw were all different colours, "there was a black one, white one, and a couple grey, which isn't very typical for wolves," Norris said.
"But there are always variations."
Although Norris was reluctant to say Henry's visitors were wolves, nevertheless he did advise her to buy some bear spray to keep on hand, as well as to keep any attractants like meat or any garbage for that matter away.
Henry's Friday night intruders lingered on for about two and a half hours before they left
"I'm just in disbelief," she said. "I've only seen them on TV."
"I stayed up all night. I was quite concerned," she said, noting her father, who was already sleeping when they arrived, often wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and sits outside in the mornings.
Henry said her sister also spotted a similar type of dog a few days before in the Miller Road area of Duncan.
If anyone has any sightings of similar canines, they're urged to report it to 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or by calling Coastal Animal Services at 250-748-3395.