Two dogs have required veterinary care after encounters with wolves in Sioux Lookout this month, prompting the Ministry of Natural Resources to urge local residents to take measures to keep animals away from the area.
The ministry said two separate incidents occurred about a week apart in early May and in each case a small to medium sized dog required veterinarian care.
“A local resident reported to MNRF on May 4 that their dog had an altercation with a wolf that resulted in injury to the dog. A second incident, resulting in injury to a dog occurred about one week later,” said Shawn Burke, the ministry's forestry fish and wildlife team district supervisor in an emailed statement to Dougall Media.
Burke noted that in both incidents took place in the first two weeks of the month in the Drayton and Sturgeon River Road areas, which is in a rural part of the municipality.
“Based on the injuries the dogs received they were attacked as possible prey for the wolf. Cats and small dogs may be seen as prey by wolves,” he said.
Burke said interactions between wolves and humans are extremely rare as generally wolves avoid developed areas within the municipality. He added to avoid interactions people should consider taking proper steps that will help keep the wolves away.
“Feed pets indoors. Do not allow pets to roam. Wolves may try to kill a dog or a cat when given the opportunity. Do not leave pets unattended outside unless they are in a kennel with a secure top,” he said.
“Wolves can jump into fenced yards, and dogs confined by leash are vulnerable. Spay or neuter your dogs. Wolves can be attracted to, and can mate with, domestic dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.”
Burke said much of the land surrounding Sioux Lookout is undeveloped crown land which supports diverse and healthy wildlife populations.
“Residents need to remember we share the landscape with bears, wolves, coyotes, foxes, fish and many other wildlife species. It is always safest to keep your pet supervised and contained to avoid negative interactions with wildlife,” he said.