A dead wolf found on the outskirts of Tofino on Tuesday is believed to have been the victim of a wolf-on-wolf attack.
A pedestrian walking through a wooded area between the Pacific Rim Highway and South Chesterman Beach stumbled upon the wolf and alerted Pacific Rim National Park staff who reported the finding to the BC Conservation Officer service around 12:30 p.m.
Visible injuries to its body suggest the wolf was taken out by another wolf or wolves, according to Conservation Officer Brittany Mueller
â€œWe did locate some puncture wounds and cuts on the hindquarter, neck and foot,â€ she said. â€œFrom what I could see it looks like it did get in a scrap with another animal.â€
A provincial wildlife veterinarian will perform a necropsy to confirm the cause of death and determine if there were any underlying reasons to explain why it was attacked.
â€œWolves are very interesting animals so there could be a number of reasons as to why they did go after it,â€ Mueller said.
She said wolf-on-wolf attacks are not uncommon but it is rare for the victim of such an attack to be found.
â€œIt probably happens a lot more often than we know. These wolves have large territories and the chance of actually stumbling across an animal thatâ€™s gone through this are definitely rare,â€ she said.
Mueller said the wolf looked to be young, possibly between 1-2 years old, and its body was â€œquite freshâ€ meaning the death was recent.
Anyone who comes across a dead animal should leave the area immediately after marking the location to report to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
Do not disrupt a dead animalâ€™s surroundings as this could hinder a conservation officerâ€™s investigation into its cause of death.
Mueller said evidence of wolf-on-wolf aggression does not suggest any increased danger to humans.
â€œWolves are known to show aggression towards each other…An alpha wolf typically does kill 1-3 wolves in his or her lifetime,â€ she said. â€œThey have that hierarchy to keep and thereâ€™s some members of the pack that just wonâ€™t meet up to their standards.â€