Residents of West St. Paul are keeping watch after multiple sightings of a wolf in the rural municipality north of Winnipeg.
In a notice posted on its website, the RM said on Friday it has received calls about a wolf spotted wandering around homes on Rossmore Avenue and running in McNaughton Park. It was also spotted inside the Perimeter in the Winnipeg neighbourhood of Riverbend.
Doug Lunney has lived in West St. Paul for about seven years and said one of the benefits is being close to wildlife like owls and rabbits — but until Friday he had never seen a wolf in the area.
"I did not think there were wolves around here, so that was a bit of an eye opener, but it's still really cool to be able to have seen one," he said.
Lunney had just dropped his daughter off at school and was on his way home at around 8:45 a.m. when he spotted an animal walking up to homes on Rossmore.
"I saw this animal just sort of going through people's front yards. It looked like it was trying to get through into their backyards to head toward an area where they dump snow," he said.
He decided to pull over and grab a photo. After the first shot the animal looked back and Lunney assumed it was a big dog or maybe a coyote. But there was something different about it.
"It looks like the famous Bigfoot photo where it's looking over its shoulder at me," he said with a laugh.
He decided to post the photo in a local Facebook group. Lunney said several people commented that they had seen a similar animal. Eventually, his photo made its way to the rural municipality, which had it analyzed by a conservation officer.
"They confirmed it is a young wolf. They said it probably wasn't in very good health because it was pretty scrawny looking, but warned people [to] keep a good eye on your pets, don't leave garbage laying around or any food outside, don't try to feed it, that sort of thing," he said.
The rural municipality also said it has received numerous complaints of coyotes in the area. Lunney said he hasn't seen them, and only hears howling at night.
As the owner of two small pugs, Lunney said he might keep a closer eye on his dogs, since he doesn't want them to find out first-hand the hunger of a wolf.