Beach reopens but dog ban still in place after wolf attack near Ucluelet

Pacific Rim Park officials have reopened Wickaninnish Beach near Ucluelet, B.C., after a series of wolf attacks prompted its closure Thursday.

A dog ban in all areas of the park between Tofino and Ucluelet and a wolf advisory are still in place, however. 

Renee Wissink with Pacific Rim National Park Reserve told CBC News earlier this week that the decision was made after wolves twice approached and attacked dogs in the area.

Off-leash dogs are an easy target for wolves, Wissink said, adding that around 9,000 people bring their dogs to the area every year. 

On Thursday and Friday, park staff tried to curb the wolves's aggressive behaviour by "hazing" them, which involves yelling and using air horns and loud cracker pistols to discourage them from approaching humans.

​Conservation officers are encouraging people to report animal attacks so they can intervene before the animal's behaviour gets to a point where it's a concern for public safety and has to be removed from the population.

Last November a wolf advisory was issued for Wickaninnish Beach after a man and his two dogs were surrounded by wolves. 

How to stay safe

Pacific Rim Park reserve has issued the following guidelines for handling wolf encounters:

- Hike in a group and make noise. 

- Stay alert and watch for signs of wolves like tracks or droppings.

- Keep small children close and dogs leashed.

- Back away slowly maintaining eye contact if you encounter a wolf.

- Yell, wave arms, try to look bigger.

- Throw rocks or use pepper spray if a wolf approaches.

- If the aggression escalates, fight back.

With files from Liz McArthur and Michelle Ghoussoub