Don't worry: a pack of grey wolves is not roaming rural Nova Scotia.
A letter that appears to be from the Department of Lands and Forestry, claiming that eight grey wolves were reintroduced to Kings County in August, is in fact fake.
"We're not introducing any wolves. Wolves haven't been in Nova Scotia for over 150 years," Bob Petrie, director of wildlife with the department, told CBC's Mainstreet on Wednesday.
Petrie said the letter, which was distributed as a hard copy to several people, is a fairly convincing imposter — the odd spelling mistake aside. His department started getting calls about it last week, leading them to issue a warning on Twitter.
The letter is written on what looks like Department of Lands and Forestry letterhead and states that eight grey wolves have been reintroduced to South Alton, Kings County, and that the animals would likely migrate south.
It goes on to say that the pack unexpectedly moved to the Annapolis Valley floor "in search of easy pray and livestock."
The letter even offers safety tips should someone unexpectedly run into the pack of predators.
"Do no provoke, engage or feed the animal," the letter states. "Back away slowly while remaining calm — do not turn and run."
'A very mystifying occurrence'
The letter is signed by a real person living in Nova Scotia, but Petrie said the man has nothing to do with the letter.
CBC News reached out to the person whose name is on the letter, but has not heard back.
"I haven't seen anything like this before. This is a very mystifying occurrence," Petrie said. "What concerns me is just the need to put out this misinformation. You know, it might be mischief. It might be something else. We don't know."
He admitted that the fake letter has become a bit of a headache.
"It hasn't been a terribly big deal, but we have spent some time dealing with it when we could have been dealing with, well, actual, real issues," he said.
Wolves used to roam much of North America but largely disappeared from Atlantic Canada in the early 1900s due to hunting. There have been very few sightings since.
In 2012, a wolf was shot and killed in New Brunswick, the first wild wolf recorded in the province since the 1860s.
A 2016 study by researchers from Dalhousie University notes that it's likely not a good idea to reintroduce the species to Nova Scotia due to habitat concerns and people's worries about wolves getting too close to communities.
The topic of reintroducing species to Nova Scotia comes up from time to time, said Petrie. But if wolves, or any other species, are to be brought to Nova Scotia, people will know about it well in advance, he said.
"We would have to think about that very, very carefully and put it through what I would call an ecological risk assessment and a public consultation likely," he said.
People who receive the letter are asked to let the department know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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