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By Jeff Lawrence
Officials at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve have killed a wolf they say was responsible for two attacks on leashed dogs, including one over the weekend.
Parks Canada staff say the wolf was involved in multiple incidents in the Long Beach area of the reserve, and the most recent attack occurred Sunday morning.
It happened on a trail just below Green Point Campground, said Renee Wissink, manager of resource conservation for the park.
“Very bold behaviour, very close to people,” said Wissink. “While the attack was still focused on the dog, the proximity to people was just way too close and we can’t jeopardize visitor safety.”
He said staff tracked the wolf from Green Point to Florencia Bay, where they contained and euthanized the animal.
“It’s definitely always our last resort, and we make every effort to avoid this exact eventuality, but from time to time it becomes necessary,” said Wissink.
The same wolf had been linked to an attack in March, also on a leashed dog.
A wolf advisory for the park has been in effect since November of last year due to multiple close encounters.
“The issue I think is more one of habituation. Animals that have just become too comfortable around people, who’ve lost their natural wariness,” said Wissink.
It was the first time since 2008 park staff have had to euthanize an animal, he said.
Wissink said wolves generally become habituated when they learn to associate food attractants with humans.
Parks Canada requires all visitors to Pacific Rim to keep their pets on leash at all times, keep food and garbage secure and remain at safe distances from animals.
Wolf sightings can be reported to Parks Canada staff at 1-877-852-3100 or 250-726-3604.
A coastal B.C. wolf
PHOTO: A coastal B.C. wolf, part of a research project, is shown in a handout photo. (HO-Chris Darimont/The Canadian Press)