Environment Yukon conservation officers have shot and killed a wolf that attacked a dog near the Whitehorse landfill last week.
On Aug. 14, a wolf bit a dog as it accompanied its owners on their bicycles. It then came within five metres of the owners before backing off and following the cyclists at a distance.
Conservation officer David Bakica said the wolf had been hanging around the dump for weeks, and had become habituated to people. “It had been seen lots and showed very little fear of people,” he said.
This was the first instance he knew of where the wolf had approached people or tried to take a dog.
He said it’s not uncommon for wolves to hunt dogs, especially in the winter when there’s less food available. But it’s unusual for them to be so bold around people.
Conservation officers shot the wolf on Wednesday evening at the dump. Bakica said he’s “reasonably confident” they got the right wolf, as they found it in the same spot and it displayed no fear.
He said a necropsy will be performed on the animal to see if it was sick or malnourished, but he suspects the wolf just got too comfortable around people.
“The animal looks completely healthy to me,” he said. “It’s not huge, it doesn’t look old, it just looks to be an average male wolf.”
Bakica said there are several other wolves that hang around the landfill, but none of them seem particularly dangerous. He said wolves are frequent visitors to the dump during the winter, when the electric fence around the landfill doesn’t work as well. But this is the first time he’s seen wolves at the dump in the summer. He said the electric fence isn’t working as it should be, which could be part of the problem.
“The electric fence needs to be improved so that they can’t get in,” he said.
Environment Yukon is advising people to keep their pets close and stick together if confronted by a wolf. They’re also recommending that people carry bear spray in greenbelt areas.