What to do if you see a Wolf
Stand still and marvel. This rarely happens. Leave it or them alone, do not disturb or follow. If the animal is too close for comfort, make eye contact and back away slowly.
The Vancouver Island wolf (Canis lupus crassodon) is an endangered subspecies of the gray wolf. It is common for individuals to be different colours, from black, through various grey tones and even white. Roaming in packs of 5 to 20, they mainly live off the island’s resident Columbian black-tailed deer.
Wolves are a vital part of Clayoquot Sound’s ecosystem and it is a treat to be in a place where there is a healthy population of these large predators. Sadly, this may be changing. There have been occasional reports of wolves approaching campers on the beaches of Vargas Island. This is disheartening for two reasons: 1) the situation is completely avoidable by keeping your campsite clear of food scraps; 2) this behaviour means that the wolves may need to be killed for the safety of future campers.
Wolves conditioned to humans are the only wolves that are dangerous. If a wolf approaches you and does not show signs of fear (again, this would be astonishingly rare), make yourself as big as possible, and be aggressive by making noise and showing the animal that you are dangerous. Avoid the urge to run away.
A few wolf safety notes:
- Consult the park brochure “You Are in Wolf and Cougar Country”. The brochures are available at the Tofino Visitor Centres, Greenpoint Campground, and the Kwisitis Interpretive Centre.
- Groups of people are safer than lone hikers.
- Remember to keep your distance from these animals. The more distance between you and the animal, the safer it is for you and the animal. “Space is Safe”.
- If a wolf does not walk away from your group, scare it away by shouting and waving your arms. If this does not work, throw rocks or sticks at the animal. The group should act together to scare the animal.
- If you have a dog, the best way to ensure its safety is to keep it on a leash. In the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve this is required by law.
- Check information centres and watch for signs posting current wildlife sightings.