Lone wolf may have come to James Bay to search for mate, expert says

Wolf spotted in community

UPDATED: 7:50 p.m. 

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has safely tranquilized and captured the James Bay wolf.

The wolf appears to be a healthy mature male wolf, says the BCCOS, and will be assessed by the provincial veterinarian on Monday. 

ORIGINAL: 5:30 p.m. 

A wolf has been on the loose in British Columbia's capital city for more than a day.

Victoria police first announced a "confirmed wolf sighting" in their city's James Bay neighbourhood on their Twitter account Saturday afternoon, but said they had abandoned the search Sunday after more than 12 hours without spotting the beast, according to CTV News Vancouver Island.

Then, late Sunday afternoon, the wolf was sighted again. 

Police said their officers and "several others" have seen the animal in James Bay. They said they are "giving it room while monitoring it closely," and advised the public to bring children and pets indoors as a precaution.

Conservation photographer Cheryl Alexander says she believes the wolf currently on the run in the City of Victoria is likely the lone wolf, which is named Takaya.

“The video clip looks very much like it could be the Discovery Island wolf,” Alexander said. 

“He has very specific markings; I’d like to see the front of his legs because he has a couple of stripes down there that are quite obvious.”

Alexander said the wolf may have decided to swim to Victoria in search of food, or because he is looking for a mate.

In 2016, the island off the coast of Oak Bay was closed to the public on the recommendation of the BCCOS, The island was reopened in 2017.

Like bears, wolves can become "habituated" to humans, according to BC Parks. 

The guide recommends keeping a distance of more than 100 metres between human and wolf. If a wolf is acting aggressively or appears unafraid of humans, BC Parks recommends raising your arms and waving them in the air to make yourself appear larger, as well as using noisemakers and throwing sticks, rocks, or sand at the wolf to scare it away.

Anyone who encounters an aggressive wild animal is encouraged to call the Conservation Officer Service 24-hour reporting line at 877-952-7277.

- With files from CTV News Vancouver Island

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