After an alarming 14 wolf encounters since the beginning of May, officials with Parks Canada have issued a wolf warning for Pacific Rim National Park Reserve located near picturesque Tofino, British Columbia.
The two most recent incidents involved wolves approaching occupied campsites and remaining within a few feet of campers, even when confronted. One camper told the story of encountering a wolf just outside of her tent when she opened her tent to let her dog out one morning. She acted swiftly, scooping up her dog and seeking refuge in her vehicle.
While the second incident took place around the dinner table, as a wolf approached within a few feet of a group campsite while campers were eating.
“It’s definitely a concern when a wolf approaches an occupied campsite,” Todd Windle, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada told CBC News.
Wildlife officials believe there to be two small wolf packs situated in the Park; one pack containing 5 adults and the other containing 3 adult wolves.
“We don’t know the exact number of wolves in the area, but we do know there are two packs — one with at least five adults and one with at least three adults,” said Windle. “We believe it’s two yearling wolves from the larger pack that are approaching the campsites.”
With an estimated 800,000 annual visitors to the Park, wolf-human conflicts are virtually inevitable, but Windle warns that visitors should be prepared and aware of what to do in the event of a wolf encounter. In addition to knowing how to handle an encounter, visitors are also encouraged to maintain the naturally healthy fear that exists between wild animals such as wolves and humans.
“I challenge people to learn more about wolves, but we also have to remember not to love them to death.” Windle said.
H/T: CBC News