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Wolf thought to have left island and returned

A wolf haunting Discovery Island likely made a quick swim and returned this month.

“The last sighting we had was Aug. 16 on Trial Island,” said provincial conservation officer Peter Pauwels.

There are reports from Aug. 18 of a wolf howling on Chatham Island, suggesting the wolf made the return swim.

The wolf has been lurking on the islands since May when it was first reported by campers on Discovery Island.

“We haven’t had any other sightings,” Pauwels said. “We don’t think it’s still on Trial Island.”

Though other Gulf Islands are occasional destinations for lone wolves, being adjacent to natural wolf habitat, this is the first for Chatham, Discovery and Trial islands.

Saturna had one 10 years ago and Sidney Island about 15 years ago. The pack animals aren’t usually seen solo.

“Every once in a while an individual wolf will leave a pack for what we think is conflict within the pack,” Pauwels said. “They usually don’t stay on their own too long because they are a social animal. They like to live in groups.”

Attempts to trap the wolf in early August were unsuccessful. While the wolf has yet to rejoin its pack or join another group, the conservation service doesn’t have immediate plans to revisit relocating the wolf.

“The wolf hasn’t demonstrated any aggressive behaviour there,” Pauwels said. “If it were to stay on those islands it might become accustomed to people and that’s something we’d rather not see happen.”

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