A wolf spotted on a residential street in Prince Rupert on May 20, 2020. Wolves in Prince Rupert and Port Edward are increasing more predatory as they become acclimated and attracted to humans, said the Conservation Officer Service, on June 17. (Photo: Todd Hamilton/The Northern View)

Conservation Officer Service says recent wolf attack on Port Edward senior citizen was ‘predatory’

There have only been three wolf attacks in B.C. in the last 20 years

The victim of a wolf attack on May 30 in Port Edward was released from a Vancouver hospital yesterday.

The Conservation Officer Service (C.O.S.) said that the attack on the senior citizen was predatory and opportunistic in nature.

“The wolf returned to the attack scene while first responders were attending to the victim after being scared off of him and then returned to the attack scene approximately an hour later,” said Tracy Walbauer, sergeant with the North Coast Zone C.O.S. in a statement.

“The movements of the wolf showed predatory actions and not of an animal reacting from a surprise defensive encounter.”

Walbauer said that easy sources of food for wolves, namely a nearby landfill site and the large number of feral cats in the area, are contributing to wolves visiting residential areas.

Conservation officers have observed wolves actively feeding at the landfill – only four kilometres from Port Edward – during the day and at night.

The C.O.S. has received reports during the past 10 days of wolves directly approaching vehicles within 10 feet and ignoring car horns. There are more reports of attacks on cats and dogs.

“This loss of the natural fear of humans undoubtedly led to the wolf responsible for the attack progressing to a stage where a man became its victim,” said Walbauer.

According to DNA tests from an independent lab, the wolf destroyed by the C.O.S. four days after the May 30 attack was the offending animal.

READ MORE: Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Walbauer said improvements have already been made to the landfill fencing and gates in efforts to deter wolf activity at the location. This has been done with the assistance of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. As well, conservation officers are working with the District of Port Edward to improve the feral cat situation.

“Although there are still wolves around the wilderness areas of both Port Edward and Prince Rupert, C.O.’s believe the risk of further attacks have been significantly reduced. C.O.’s will continue to respond to wolf complaints as required to keep both communities safe.”

Wolf attacks on humans are rare, and the COS has dealt with only two other cases in B.C. dating back to 2007 and 2000. In both prior cases the men survived.

With files from K-J Millar


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