Kananaskis rogue wolf destroyed
Kananaskis Country conservation officers shot and killed a young wolf after it stalked a man, his child and puppy at the Mount Kidd campground, Tuesday (July 24).
It’s the first time in the history of Kananaskis Country parks officials have had to kill a wolf.
According to Kananaskis Senior Parks Ecologist Melanie Percy, the wolf was highly habituated and food conditioned, and was likely fed along the roadside.
“It was an extremely unfortunate situation. The careless acts of a few individuals left us with a situation that was unmanageable and ultimately cost this wolf his life,” Percy said.
On Tuesday morning, the man, boy and puppy were walking through the Mount Kidd Campground when they noticed the wolf following them. They sought refuge in a nearby bathroom, however, the wolf waited outside the building for them, before losing interest and moving on.
Shortly after, conservation officers showed up and shot the young wolf, estimated to be two or three years old. A necropsy was conducted Wednesday (July 25).
“We’re 100 per cent sure it was the right wolf,” Percy said.
Stalking the young family was the final nail in the wolf’s coffin, although it exhibited alarming behaviour over the past week.
Conservation officers had received word of a wolf approaching vehicles, coming close enough to put its paws on cars. The behaviour suggests the wolf was fed from passing vehicles. Another wolf was also fed in Kootenay National Park.
“We had very few reports of the wolf until a week ago. It was approaching vehicles and not approaching people,” Percy said.
But last week, the wolf reportedly lunged at a motorcyclist, coming within two metres of the biker.
Then on Saturday (July 21) the wolf pursued a man and his six-year-old on the Bill Milne bike trail in Evan Thomas park. The man twice used his bike as a shield to scare away the wolf, who came within 10 feet of his son.
Later Saturday, the wolf was seen running through the campground with a roast in its mouth and reportedly chased cyclists around the campground.
Alberta Parks does not like to shoot wolves, however this animal gave them no choice.
“It would have been irresponsible to leave this wolf on the landscape. The implications of a wolf attack and their public acceptance would have been huge,” Percy said. “Wolf aggression toward humans is extremely rare, but the risk is elevated when a wolf becomes highly habituated to humans. Once food conditioned by humans, wolves are considered to be dangerous and a threat to public safety.”
Feeding wolves is an extremely dangerous activity and the animal almost always ends up euthanized.
The lone wolf is not part of the Kananaskis pack, which has caused no public safety issues. Conservation officers have hazed them away from roadsides, but have been unsuccessful in attempts to collar the pack.
“The rest of the wolves are quite shy,” Percy said.
Banff National Park had to destroy two wolves in 2001, also because of food conditioning.
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