Less than two kilometres off the Oak Bay Marina is a remote and pure wilderness that Ian Cesarec of Songhees First Nation Marine Enforcement describes as “no-go zone.”
“We have no fires, no camping, no book reading, no lunch eating,” Cesarec said of the stretch of Discovery Island that has been deemed off limits.
One thing the island does have is a wolf.
On Saturday, a family of four camping nearby were cornered by the island’s resident wolf while on a hike in an off-limits area and were forced to race to safety.
With no cellphone they called for help using a marine radio.
“Our coast guard station picked up a broadcast,” Capt. Gregory Clark said. “We made a relay and our local coast guard vessel that happened to be a few miles away responded.”
The MV Charles made its way to the island along with two armed fisheries officers who happened to be on board.
They quickly located the family and escorted them back to their boat.
The wolf — a lone male — has been living on the island since May 2012. Up to this point, the wolf and people camping on the half of the island that falls under a designated B.C. Parks area have not had any troubling encounters.
In this case, the family’s dog — which is not permitted on any part of the island — likely acted as an attractant.
While the wolf was reported to be more curious more than anything, conservation officers aren’t taking any chances.
“We’ve also recommended to B.C. Parks that they, for now, close the park for at least the fall and the winter temporarily to the public so we can get some further assessments of the wolf’s behaviour,” conservation service officer Sgt. Scott Norris said.
At this point, there will be no action taken against the wolf as there is not enough information to determine if it poses a risk to public safety.
The hope is that people will respect the rules or face the consequences, starting with a $1,000 fine or even jail time.
– With files from Kylie Stanton