Screengrab from cellphone footage by Campbell River resident Sharon Herbin. She documented a rare wolf sighting at Painter’s Lodge Resort in Campbell River on June 29, 2019.

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

The headline of this article and an associated video were edited on July 15, 2019. An associated tweet was also deleted. They previously referred to wolves on Vancouver Island as an endangered subspecies, based on an Internet source cited in the article. However, a leading wolf expert and the provincial ministry of forests said they don’t recognize wolves on Vancouver Island as a subspecies or consider the grey wolf to be endangered. More details are available in this article.

A rare wolf sighting was caught on video in northern Vancouver Island on Saturday.

Sharon Herbin, who works at Painter’s Lodge, a resort in Campbell River, captured cellphone video of the creature as it swam ashore. She was working in her office when a guide noticed the animal, originally thinking it was a bear.

Employees gathered on the docks to watch, since it’s rare to see a bear swimming, said Herbin, who supervises the resort’s marine centre.

“As it’s coming to land, all of a sudden one of the dock attendants goes, ‘It’s a wolf!’ And at basically the same time, I’m going ‘It’s a wolf!” she said. “It was (a) total shock.”

VIDEO: Takaya, the lone wolf that roams two B.C. islands, spotted on beach

It appeared to be swimming across the waters of the Discovery Passage from Gowlland Island, off Quadra Island, a distance of roughly 2.5 km. It was perhaps 30-40 feet away when it came to shore, she said, adding that it was dark in colour.

Herbin has seen wolves on a few occasions, but this was the first time she saw one so close to a populated area. It was also the first time she saw one swimming in the ocean.

In the video, the animal is hard to make out against the background, but Herbin said she’s sure it was a wolf, noting that guides who observed the animal with binoculars also confirmed that it was a wolf, not a dog.

“Once you’ve seen a wolf, you know it’s a wolf,” she said.

In the video, the animal swims ashore and then runs across the rocks towards the nearby greenery. The original video posted on Herbin’s Facebook page had been viewed more than 14,000 times by Tuesday morning.

It wasn’t the only wild animal that Herbin saw that morning. Oddly enough, a seal appears to be following the wolf. The seal’s head is visible in the original video, until the wolf climbs ashore and the seal goes underwater.

The Vancouver Island wolf is a subspecies of the mainland grey wolf and is considered endangered, according to VI-Wilds, a website maintained by the Institute for Coastal and Oceans Research at the University of Victoria.

READ MORE: Wolf attacks dog in Vancouver Island First Nation community

The estimated population is under 150, according to the website, citing 2008 figures from the Ministry of the Environment.

The animal usually stays away from human activity and is most commonly found on the North Island, along with Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound on the west coast.

The wolves prey on black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk, and pursue smaller game including squirrels, rodents and beavers when larger prey are in low supply.

The VI-Wilds website says that “(s)ome controversy surrounds the wolves as they are one of the animals being blamed for the continuing decline of the Vancouver Island marmot.”

The main threat to the Vancouver Island wolf is habitat destruction. Hunting of wolves does take place, and the “active hunting of reproductive adult wolves undoubtedly has the potential to extinguish the population on Vancouver Island.”

Government-sanctioned hunts have taken place to preserve the deer population or reduce pressure on the marmot, according to VI-Wilds.


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows mayor responds to petition to halt development of North Lougheed Study Area

A petition with 628 signatures was put before city council on Tuesday evening

Searching for isolated seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with music and dance

Seniors outreach team at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society came up with a pop up jukebox

Fraser North Farmers Market moves to online model for summer season amid COVID-19

Customers can order products online and pick up at Golden Meadows Honey Farm on Saturdays

In-class instruction for Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows schools to resume June 1

Classes will be part-time, remote/at-home learning to continue

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read