A wolf killed a dog on a cross-country ski trail near Smithers, B.C., before tracking its owner back to a parking lot, conservation officers say.
A caretaker for the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre was out for a ski on Wednesday when his dog was attacked. He was able to make it out of the forest without injury, but his dog wasn’t so lucky. According to reports, the trail he was on is popular among dog owners, so it’s no surprise that the ski centre’s president, Daryl Wilson, is unhappy with the incident.
“It’s not something that we really like to see on our ski trails, that’s for sure,” he told CBC News.
The trails were still closed to the public when the attack occurred, and they will remain that way until Wilson is given more information. According to a Facebook post from the Conservation Officer Service they’re still investigating.
It’s certainly not the first time B.C. dog owners have been stalked by wolves. A little more than a month ago, a Vancouver Island man was surrounded by a pack of wolves while on an evening run with his dogs, and in the spring a Prince Rupert woman was stalked by a lone wolf while walking along the port city’s waterfront trails. Just last year, two wolves attacked two off-leash dogs not far from Tofino’s Wickanninish Beach, killing one of them and seriously injuring the other.
Following the Wickanninish Beach incident, human wildlife conflict specialist Todd Windle told the Times Colonist that although wolf attacks are uncommon in the area, they see an average of about five dogs killed by predatory animals each year.
Research has shown that dogs may be nothing more than a safety hazard in bear country, and there seems to be a similar trend when it comes to wolves. But the theories as to why they’re attracted to domestic dogs tend to vary. In some cases, they might be interested in them because they’re members of the same biological family, while in others the wolves have merely lost their fear because they’ve become habituated.
As always, people are reminded to keep their dogs leashed while hiking, or skiing, through the wilderness.