General News · 15th October 2009
Wolf sightings are more and more frequent on the island and FOCI would like to remind the Cortes community of what we can do to reduce conflict.
In January of this year, North Island Conservation Officer Ben York and Park Warden Bob Hansen, both specialists in human-wildlife conflict, gave us the following guidelines to work by.
If you have had an encounter with a wolf this year, please fill out an “encounter form” available at the FOCI office and we will keep this data for future reference.
From the forms submitted to date, we are already beginning to piece together pack numbers, size and travel corridors. This information is critical in understanding how to live together with our wolves.
Learning to Live with Wolves on Cortes Island
We need to keep our wolves WILD; here's what each of us can do!
1. Never feed wolves
It is illegal and completely irresponsible as it endangers you, your fellow community members and the wolves! Take care not to leave meat scraps out near your home or in your compost pile. Dispose of these responsibly; dig into a pit or feed to the crabs.
2. Do not feed deer or raccoons; they are prey species of wolves.
Food conditioned deer and raccoons WILL attract wolves to your doorstep and your neighbours. Be responsible to yourself and your community.
3. Keep yourself safe
HAZE wolves ! when you encounter them in a residential area i.e. near your house, your neighbour's, the community halls, stores, schools etc. Wave your arms to make yourself look bigger, shout loudly, use noisemakers, throw sticks/stones, or especially an air horn.
Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that they need to fear you and you will not tolerate their presence in this place
Use your most aggressive body language! Take bear spray along as an extra precaution when walking the dog, hiking alone off the beaten track or working the beaches at night.
4. Keep your pets safe
Dogs must be leashed when walked; an unleashed dog is seen as prey by the wolves. Ensure all pets are secured in sturdy, predator proof kennels outside or kept inside your house at night. Keep your outside pet feeding area clean and never leave uneaten food in them. Do not take your dogs with you when hiking in natural areas frequented by wolves i.e. Carrington, Von Donop, Hank's Beach, Marina Island etc.
5. Practice good animal husbandry
Ensure all livestock are secured inside sturdy, predator proof structures at night. If wolves approach livestock during the day, HAZE them; scare them away, shooting over their heads if necessary. After butchering livestock, dispose of carcasses responsibly; buried deeply and ideally well away from residential areas.
If, as a community, we work together and consistently follow these basic guidelines, we CAN turn things around!
We must keep our wolves WILD in order to live together with them.