A Kelowna man had the encounter of his life while hiking a commonly used trail in the Black Mountain area.
Mike Walchuck said he came across a pack of wolves and was able to photograph the experience.
“I was just hiking on Saturday. (I’ve) been there half a dozen times to do a loop of about eight miles. On the upper sections of the trail, I walked into an opening and saw a wolf first, then saw black soon after,” Walchuck said.
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Walchuck told PKBNEWS he was a bit surprised by what he encountered. He said he had quietly assessed the situation and made sure he was not in danger.
“They weren’t aggressive, they were getting away from me.”
It was then that he decided to take pictures.
“I haven’t really seen any evidence of (wolves). Just coyotes and maybe a few deer,” Walchuck said.
Adam Ford is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He says the wolves probably traveled with their food source.
“Wolves move around a lot, so they might be there just because.”
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He says the sighting is rare but not surprising.
“There are a lot of different wildlife species moving through this area. There are herds of elk, coyotes. I’ve also heard reports of grizzlies and black bears moving through this area, so in some ways it’s not entirely surprising that we see wolves here. It’s exciting that someone has a picture of them,” Ford said.
There are some concerns about the peloton’s proximity to the city, but Ford says there are things people can do to minimize or prevent any danger.
“That means managing your food. Making sure we don’t leave anything behind. And certainly not trying to feed them so that we get a case of animals being habituated or conditioned to food like we saw in Stanley Park last year in Vancouver,” Ford said.
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He said that when people are on the trails, it’s important to be aware of the environment; to keep animals on a leash, make lots of noise and keep a safe distance from any wild animals they may encounter.
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