A Kelowna man had the encounter of a lifetime while hiking a commonly used trail up in the Black Mountain area.
Mike Walchuck said he stumbled upon a pack of wolves and was able to photograph the experience.
“I was just doing a Saturday hike. (I’ve) been there half a dozen times doing about an eight-kilometer loop. On the upper stretches of the trail I came into an opening and saw one wolf initially and then saw the black one shortly after,” said Walchuck.
Walchuck tells Global News he was a bit surprised by what he had come across. He said he quietly assessed the situation and made sure he was not in harm’s way.
“They weren’t being aggressive, they were moving away from me.”
That’s when he decided to take some photos.
“I haven’t seen really any evidence of (wolves). Just coyotes and maybe the odd deer,” said Walchuck.
Adam Ford is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He says the wolves were likely traveling with their food source.
“Wolves move around a lot, so they could be there just because.”
He says the sighting is rare but not surprising.
“There are lots of different types of wildlife that move through this area. There are herds of elk, coyotes. I’ve heard reports of grizzly bears and black bears moving in this area as well, so in some ways, it’s not totally surprising that we’re seeing wolves here. It’s exciting that someone got a photo of them,” said Ford.
There are some concerns with how close the pack is to town but Ford says there are things people can do to minimize or prevent any danger.
“That means managing your food. Making sure that we aren’t leaving things behind. And certainly not trying to feed them so that we get a case of habituated, or food conditioned animals like we saw in Stanley Park, last year in Vancouver,” said Ford.
He said when people are out on the trails, it’s important to be aware of surroundings; to keep animals leashed make a lot of noise, and keep a safe distance from any wildlife they may encounter.