Conservation Officer Service Armorial BearingConservation Officer Service

WOLVES


AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR

  • Contact the Ministry Call Centre at 1-877-952-7277

CHILDREN and WOLVES

  • It is not normal for wolves to attack or pursue humans.  Problems between humans and wolves can occur when the wolf has become conditioned/comfortable with people as a result of direct or indirect feeding.
  • It is an offence under section 33.1(1) of the Wildlife Act to feed dangerous wildlife.   Report via 1-877-952-7277 anyone that is feeding or intentionally attracting dangerous wildlife.
  • If a wolf is spotted in an urban or rural area recommend to parents that they keep their children inside until the wolf has left the area.  The wolf was likely just passing through.
    • Children shouldn't be left unsupervised.
    • Also refer to pets if applicable.

FENCING - Electric and Non-Electric

  • Fencing out predators over large area can be very difficult.  Most predators will easily cross over or under conventional livestock fences.  A predator's response to a fence will be influenced by a number of factors including its experience with fences and its motivation for crossing the fence.  Some predators learn to dig deeper or climb higher to defeat a fence.  Recent improvements in equipment and design have made fencing more effective and economical.
  • There are two categories of fencing, electric and non-electric fencing.

Non-electric Fence

  • Net-wire fencing in good repair will for example deter coyotes.  Openings in the mesh should be less than 6 inches high and 4 inches wide.
    • High tensile barbed wire at ground level or a buried wire apron will discourage predators from digging under fences.
    • Fences should be at least 5 1/2 feet high to hinder animals jumping over them.
    • Preventing predators from climbing over top of the fence can be prevented by adding a single electrified wire at the top of the fence or by installing overhanging wire.

Electric fence

  • New energizers, chargers and fence designs from Australia and New Zealand have recently revolutionized electrical fencing in North America.  Many different designs including one for portable electric fences are available.
    • Designs incorporate charged and alternately charged wire, with trip wires and ground wires.
    • The latest designs have every wire charged.
  • The USDA found in an experiment that a 13-strand electric fence provides complete protection to sheep from coyote predation.
    • Labour to keep electrical fencing functional can be significant. Wire tension must be maintained; vegetation under the fence must be removed to prevent grounding and damage from feeding livestock and wildlife, and the charger must be checked to ensure proper operation.
    • Electric fences can trap predators inside the fence.
    • Traps and snares can be set along fence lines to increase predator defenses.
  • Fencing alone wouldn't necessarily eliminate predator problems, but when used in combination with other predator control methods such as trapping and shooting it can be highly effective.  Sound husbandry practices must be maintained.
  • Also see Livestock Husbandry, Guarding Dogs and Predator Control and Prevention.

GUARDING ANIMALS

  • A growing number of livestock producers are using guarding animals as part of their predation management plan - widespread use with sheep farmers.
  • Examples of guarding animals include: dogs, donkeys, cattle, llamas, goats and mules.  A good guard animal stays with the herd without harming them and aggressively repels predators.
  • Livestock guard dogs are the most common.  There are several Eurasian breeds.  For example: Great Pyrenees, Komondor, Anatolian Shepard and Akbash Dogs.
    • Donkeys are becoming more popular in the United States for protecting livestock from coyotes.  Donkeys are generally docile towards humans but inherently dislike canids.  Donkeys will either bray, run at the canine or kick and bite at it.
    • Llamas like donkeys also have an inherent dislike for canines and a growing number of livestock producers are using llamas to protect sheep.
  • The use of guard animals is no substitute for poor animal husbandry practices.

LIVESTOCK HARASSMENT

  • Wolves that are harassing or menacing domestic animals (livestock) or birds can be hunted or trapped on a person's property under Section 26(2) of the Wildlife Act.
    • Under Section 2 (Property in Wildlife) - section 2(4) states that a person who by accident or for protection of life or property kills wildlife, that wildlife remains the property of the government.
    • The killing or wounding of any wildlife must be reported.  Failing to report the killing or wounding of any wildlife, whether or not it is for protection of life or property, is an offence under section 75 of the Wildlife Act.
    • Persons must comply with all Municipal, Provincial and Federal laws surrounding the use and discharge of firearms or the setting of traps.
    • Persons are liable for any wildlife that is wounded or injured as a result of them exercising their rights under section 26(2) and that they are legally responsible for any misuse of firearms.
    • If there is a hunting or trapping season open for wolves at the time and in the location of the occurrence, a trapper from the local trapper's association may be able to assist.
  • Scare devices and or electric fencing may also be an option to try and help protect livestock from wolf attacks
    • Local feed stores may carry these products.
  • Livestock and poultry should be kept locked inside a barn or coupe at night if a wolf is in the area.

LIVESTOCK HUSBANDRY

Livestock management and predator management can effectively reduce livestock losses.  Listed below are husbandry techniques that can reduce livestock predation.

  • Livestock confinement (not allowing livestock out onto a pasture) may prevent predation - this however is not a feasible option for most farmers.  Penning livestock at night is another option to help reduce predation.
  • Adding lighting to a pen or corral will also help to deter predators - livestock will quickly adapt to the lighting.
  • Spring livestock birthing coincides with predator birthing and can result in high levels of predation in the spring and earlier summer because predators are trying to feed their young.
  • Having livestock born inside barns or sheds will usually prevent predation and will also reduce newborn deaths that result from inclement weather.
  • Altering livestock birthing times until later in the spring or summer can reduce predation.
  • Farmers and ranchers should avoid using pastures that have had a history of predation.
  • Pastures that are closer to buildings and human activity can be safer for young livestock.
  • Pastures with rough terrain or with dense vegetation bordering them offer cover for predators.
  • Farmers and ranchers should be checking on the status and condition of their livestock regularly in order to ensure that predator problems are identified quickly
  • Regularly counting livestock is important in large pastures or areas with heavy cover where dead livestock could remain unnoticed.  It is not unusual for livestock producers that don't regularly count their herd to suffer substantial losses before they identify that they have a predator problem.
  • Sick, injured or old livestock should be removed from the herd as predators may key in on these animals.  Once a predator identifies livestock as easy prey it will likely continue to kill even healthy animals.
  • Livestock owners should keep records and identify each animal through tagging or branding to make it easier to identify losses.
  • The livestock owner should keep a journal of predator problems.  Over time this journal can be used to show areas or time periods in which predator problems peek.  Preventative measures can then be taken.
  • Remove livestock and poultry carcasses by burying, incinerating or rendering to reduce attractants.
  • Refer to Livestock Harassment and Predator Control and Prevention.

PETS

  • Outdoor pets should be supervised and checked on regularly.
  • Wolves may kill pets that run loose.
  • Pets can be left inside when people aren't home or kept inside an enclosed kennel.
  • Pets should be kept leashed and under control at all times.  Don't allow the pet to chase/pursue wildlife (it is an offence under the Wildlife Act).

PREDATOR CONTROL and PREVENTION

  • Farmers and ranchers can use existing hunting and trapping seasons to control predators.
  • Farmers and ranchers must ensure that they comply with all Federal, Provincial and Municipal regulations surrounding hunting, trapping and the discharge of firearms in their area.
  • Predation losses can be reduced/minimized by practicing good livestock husbandry.  See Livestock Husbandry and Fencing.

 

REPELLENTS and SCARE DEVICES

  • The use of repellents and scare devices is based on the idea that predators are repelled by new or strange odours, sights or sounds.
  • Predators can adapt quite quickly to scare devices so regularly altering how they are deployed is important
  • Combining different types of scare devices seems to work better than just using one.
  • Repellents and scare devices include:
  • Propane cannons, horns, sirens, flashing lights and radios with sound amplifiers.
  • Presently there aren't any odour or taste repellents that have shown significant effectiveness in reducing wolf attacks
  • Some scare devices may be prohibited by local bylaws.  Contact the local bylaw department before using such products.

WOLF SIGHTINGS RURAL OR URBAN

  • Wolves are generally not a threat to humans.  Wolves are secretive; usually once a wolf has spotted or winded a human it will run away without the person even knowing it was there.
  • The following advice may be useful
  • Bring children and pets inside until the wolf has left the area.
  • Do not allow a wolf to approach any closer than 100 metres.
  • Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself look larger.
  • Back away slowly, do not turn your back on a wolf.
  • Don't allow children to play away from camp.  Keep them close to adults at all times.
  • It is an offence under section 33.1(1) of the Wildlife Act to feed dangerous wildlife.  Report via 1-877-952-7277 anyone that is feeding or intentionally attracting dangerous wildlife.

 

REFERENCES

HOME PAGES

  1. Ministry of Environment.  BC Parks. Wolf Safety
    http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/misc/wolves/wolfsaf.html
  2. Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  The Wolf in Alaska.
    http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/index.cfm?adfg=wolf.main
  3. Alberta Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management - Fish and Wildlife Branch.  Wolves in Alberta.
    http://srd.alberta.ca/ManagingPrograms/FishWildlifeManagement/documents/MgmtPlanWolves.pdf
  4. United States Department of Agriculture.
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/
  5. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
    http://wildlifedamage.unl.edu/
  6. Margo Supplies Ltd.  Problem Wildlife Control Products.
    http://www.margosupplies.com/

ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS

  1. A Producers Guide to Preventing Predation on Livestock.
    United States Department of Agriculture.  Wildlife Services Electronic Brochures.
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/pubs.html
  2. Livestock Guarding Dogs - The Electronic Guard: A Tool in Predation Control
    United States Department of Agriculture.  Wildlife Services Fact Sheets.
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/factsheets.html

 

BOOKS and RESOURCE MATERIALS

  1. Prevention and Control of Coyote Predation. Alberta Agriculture Publishing Branch. 7000-113 Street, Edmonton Alberta T6H 5T6.
  2. Fencing With Electricity by Brian Kennedy.  Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Publishing Branch.  7000-113 Street, Edmonton Alberta T6H 5T6.  1995.