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Wolf trapped and shot by conservation officers

A Vancouver Island wolf lopes along the beach at Clayoquot Sound - VI Wilds
A Vancouver Island wolf lopes along the beach at Clayoquot Sound
— image credit: VI Wilds

A lone female wolf, some south Cowichan folks called Solo, was recently trapped then shot by conservation officers.

Officer Scott Norris said he and his staff didn’t make a fast decision to euthanize the two-year-old wolf, but believed it may have been a safety risk to people and dogs walking in Mill Bay’s Haul Road area near Bamberton.

The animal was killed March 31 after staff received more than a dozen calls, starting about mid-March, about the wolf.

It reportedly chased some dogs, and approached some people with leashed canines in what may have been manoeuvres to protect its territory.

“It’s hard to say why this behaviour started, but once it starts, it will continue,” said Norris.

Staff consulted other environment ministry staff, including a veterinarian, about wolf behaviour before deciding to destroy it.

Relocation was considered, but wolves generally can’t be transplanted to another pack’s territory due to high odds that pack would kill the stranger, Norris explained.

Even if it was adopted by another pack “it could attack someone it that area” after close encounters with people in the Mill Bay area, he explained.

Authorities also couldn’t chance the risk Solo may have posed to south-Cowichan people and pets, he indicated.

“How long do we wait in dealing with a situation — until it attacks someone?” he asked, noting many locals had no issue with the animal.

“Unfortunately, wildlife management isn’t an exact science,” Norris said, regretting having to kill the wolf. “Public safety trumps the situation.

“This particular wolf was following people down the trail,” he said of calls from residents who spotted it. “We take people at their word. This was a challenging case.”

From first reports, Norris said he believed the wolf was just curious.

“We didn’t want to put the animal down. But it ran at a woman with a dog, then ran off into the bush — and that changed my mind.”

The animal’s challenging behaviour was not typical of wolves, he said.

South Cowichan’s wolf population was unknown, he said.

“There are no other wolves that we know of in that area, but that could change.”

The decision to kill the south-end wolf, and other potentially dangerous animals, comes with the turf of being a conservation officer, he signalled.

“We do this job knowing we’re not going to make everyone happy.”

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