[caption id="attachment_78156" align="aligncenter" width="1014"] The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail, and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in colour, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur.[/caption]Conservation Officers Warn to Keep Dogs on Leashes After Wolf Sightings
While they aren't a common sight on Vancouver Island, there are wolves who consider the location home. After some sightings in the Cowichan Valley, conservation officers and police have recommended that residents keep their dogs on leashes, particularly when walking about in more rural areas that wolves tend to call home.
According to the conservation officers involved wolves are a relatively rare sighting, with cougars and bears being seen much more commonly. It does happen though, particularly when people are hiking or exploring far off the beaten track. The result is that people tend to encroach on wolf territory, which means that wolves will run away when people show up. Most of the time, anyway.
If someone sees a wolf and it doesn't retreat or run away, chances are that it's protecting something. That something could be territory, a kill, or even pups, but when a wolf decides it isn't running it's a good idea for an individual to know how to respond. Backing away slowly is a good option, and so is circling around the wolf in a big arc. If a wolf approaches it's important to use a dominant tone of voice to warn it back, and to try and appear bigger by lifting one's jacket up. Lastly, children and pets may try to investigate the wolf. Children should be picked up and kept safe, and pets should be kept on a leash so that they don't accidentally get too close and get treated as a threat.
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.
Conservation officers warn to keep dogs on leash after wolf sightings