Wily Discovery Island wolf will remain free after trapping efforts failed

The wolf on Discovery Island has outfoxed its would-be captors.

Traps set by B.C. Parks have been removed and parks staff will instead rely on education and special food containers in the campground to keep people and the wolf apart.

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“Through the trapping exercise, conservation officers have got short clips of video from remote cameras and they have determined that the wolf appears to be healthy and surviving quite nicely,” said Joe Benning, B.C. Parks area supervisor.

The wolf is eating seals and intertidal wildlife, he said. The animal is still obviously wild and not showing any aberrant behaviour.

“It is probably stable enough in that environment that it can just be left alone,” he said.

The park, located just off Oak Bay, will remain closed for now and re-open to the public once the signs and special containers are in place, probably no later than March 31, Benning said.

The signs will remind people how to behave around wild animals and how to store their food, he said.

“We are trying to keep the animal wild and make people aware,” he said.

The news pleased members of Songhees First Nation, whose reserve includes part of Discovery Island and Chatham Island, where the wolf is sometimes seen.

Songhees band council passed a motion this month saying that the wolf should be left alone.

The animal appeared almost at the same time that Chief Robert Sam died, so its arrival was seen as auspicious.

“It is great news that it completely avoided the traps,” said Trevor Absolon, Songhees bylaw enforcement officer. “There are a lot of natural food sources out there. I think our message got through to enough people, it made a difference.”

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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