Aggressive wolf activity shut down Wickanninish Beach on Thursday.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve officials have temporarily closed the beach and the BC Conservation Service is investigating a wolf attack on a dog in the area, according to Parks spokesperson Laura Judson.
In an email to the Westerly News, Judson wrote Park visitors have reported several wolf encounters in recent weeks around Wick and Florencia Beach.
“Since at least one wolf seems to have lots its wariness of humans and is beginning to pose a risk to visitors, we are taking steps to haze the animal with noise and pain deterrents,” she wrote. “Parks Canada will continue to monitor the wolf and other wildlife activity in the park reserve and take further steps if necessary. A wolf advisory for the Long Beach Unit continues to be in place.”
She said visitor safety is a key priority in all Parks Canada sites and Pac. Rim staffers will work towards increasing education and awareness on how to interact with wildlife.
“Our goal is to avoid further habituation and food conditioning so wolves showing problem behaviour can relearn the natural boundaries between humans and wolves,” she said.
“To help avoid an encounter with a wolf, visitors are encouraged to walk in groups, make plenty of noise, and keep alert,…Dogs should be on leash at all times, and small children should be kept close by.”
She added anyone camping in the Park must keep all food and other attractants stored in cars or lockers so as to avoid luring wolves into human-use areas.
“If visitors see a wolf, they should pick up small children, stand up tall and look large, and back away slowly, maintaining eye contact as they leave,” she wrote. “If the animal continues to approach, visitors should yell, throw stones or sticks, and use pepper spray or an air horn if they have one. If the aggression escalates, visitors should fight back. At no time should they run.”
Anyone who spots a wolf within the park is urged to report their sighting immediately to Park staff at 1-877-852-3100 or 250-726-3604.