Wolf attack puts parents, dog owners on high alert in Sooke and Metchosin

Ian Harland

There is plenty of wildlife in Metchosin and Sooke, but some wild animals, such as a wolf, are not as benign as others.

The B.C. conservation service has confirmed a wolf attack resulting in the death of a dog this week.

The incident took place on a residential property bordering East Sooke Park when the dog wandered into a forested area early Tuesday morning.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said large predator sightings are becoming more frequent.

“It’s making it difficult for our farmers, for sure,” Ranns said. “And it’s certainly making a lot of our residents uneasy in terms of having their children out, or their dogs.”

The dog killed this week is the third in 2022 attacked, or killed, by wolves in the area.

Ranns says he has never seen such aggressive behavior in wolves.

“We’re seeing a change in the behavior of the animals,” Ranns said. “We’ve had wolves in the past, very rarely. There seems to be more. We’re getting more reports of wolves now. And the killing dogs is a new thing.”

But Chris Darimont, Raincoast Chair of Applied Conservation Science Lab in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, said wolves see domestic pets, like dogs, as a threat.

“Commonly wolves perceive dogs as interlopers as trespassing wolves in their territory,” Darimont said. “And they deal with them like they would any other trespassing wolf, and that is attack them, often kill them.”

The Island’s large predators include wolves, in addition to bears and cougars.

To reduce conflict, Darimont said there are some common tips.

“Take care of your orchards, take care of your livestock, take care of your garbage in ways that don’t make them attractive to carnivores like this, and we will see these problems decline in frequency and fingers crossed, we’ll avoid the most serious of consequences for people’s property and lives,” Darimont said.

Darimont says if there’s less to attract predators, there will be fewer instances of conflicts in the future.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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