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'Beautiful to see': Woman encounters wolf swimming off Island

"It was a strong swimmer," says Maxine Caroline Gillette.

A B.C. woman was on a boat at the right time and managed to see a wolf swimming near ­Kyuquot Sound off the coast of Vancouver Island.

Maxine Caroline Gillette was conducting environmental ­monitoring as part of a ­guardianship program on Sunday at about 4:30 p.m. when she spotted the animal and knew it was a wolf right away.

“It was a strong swimmer,” she says.

Gillette has seen wolves before but never one swimming.

“[It was] beautiful to see and experience, even as a stewardship officer. I’m out on our land a lot,” says Gillette. The wolf appeared to be ­heading toward Union Island and was quite a distance from land. “We drove around it really slow, and it was pretty calm,” she says.

Video recorded by Gillette shows the wolf swimming near the boat and their dog reacting with a bark.

Back in January 2020, a lone wolf was living on a small island off Victoria. Staqeya, well known as Takaya, lived on ­Discovery Island and had first been noticed by the Songhees First Nation on their reserve land years earlier.

Staqeya swam across strong currents from Discovery Island to Victoria and was spotted by people living in James Bay. The wolf was relocated and released into the wild near Port Renfrew but was shot a short time later by a hunter.

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