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

Children’s author hopes public can grant father’s wish to see work in Abbotsford library

Dawn Doig’s father recently died from COVID-19 after staying at Worthington Pavilion

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Abbotsford playgrounds to re-open Monday

City urges public to bring hand-sanitizer and maintain physical distancing

Police watchdog investigating after man injured during Abbotsford standoff

Man seriously injured during arrest on May 21 at Abbotsford hotel room

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Most Read