The District of Tofino is warning pet owners after wolves possibly killed a dog on Chesterman Beach in Tofino early Saturday morning.
A social media post by the district says all indications point to the death being a result of wolves.
In an effort to prevent similar attacks officials are asking the public to keep all dogs on leash, keep pets in at night and to not let dogs loose — even to urinate.
WildSafeBC, a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict, says the medium-sized dog that was killed was found after wolves appeared to have been scared off from the body.
“we feel for the owners and hope everyone takes precautions,” said Bob Hansen, the WildSafeBC Pacific Rim Coordinator.
“It’s an intense reminder that we are sharing this landscape with a host of wildlife including wolves and that they live here all the time just like us, and so its incumbent on us to be as safe as we can and take those steps to safeguard our pets.”
Signs are now being put up in popular public outdoor areas such as beaches and trails, warning visitors and residents of the presence of the animals.
WildSafeBC says wolf attacks on humans are very rare but attacks on dogs are quite common. They add that wolves account for approximately 400 calls to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line every year.
“We’ve had episodes [of attacks on dogs] at times over the years. But it’s not overly common,” said Hansen. “Our goal right now is to prevent a repeat of this incident, we don’t want to provide any unessesary opportunities for this to happen again.”
The District of Tofino also says information on what to do in a wildlife encounter is outlined by Parks Canada and can be found here.
The federal agency suggests to act big, make noise and not to run.
WildsafeBC’s tips on reducing such conflicts can be found here
Last March separate on and off leash wolf attacks near Tofino and Ucluelet prompted park staff to close the Wickininish Beach area for at least 24 hours and ban all dogs in the Long Beach section of the park for one week.
Parks staff said back in 2017 there had been a pack of 7 wolves that have been approaching dogs more often.