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

Warriors introduce new leadership core, look for bounce back after Friday loss

West Kelowna’s three-game winning streak ended Friday with a 6-3 loss

‘It’s still early’: Flu rates down so far this year at Interior Health

At Kelowna General Hosptial, there have been about 50 confirmed cases

Undermanned Rockets come close in 1st game of road-trip with 3-2 loss to Silvertips

Kelowna continues the three-game stretch Saturday night in Portland

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Video, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Two-vehicle collision slows traffic on Highway 97

Harvey is down to two lanes heading east past Dilworth is closed while crews clean up

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

Most Read