Wolf sightings near Sept-Îles on Quebec's North Shore alarm residents
Hunters in Mani-Utenam, the Innu community on the outskirts of Sept-Îles, on Quebec's North Shore, are busy warding off wolves, after residents there and in nearby Moisie reported spotting wolves in broad daylight.
Shannon Vollant, who recently shot and killed a wolf, said he did it to protect his community.
"It's gotten to the point where they make their way to the village at night," he said. "They venture close to people's homes. We have children nearby and a school, not even a kilometre from here."
The City of Sept-Îles is warning residents to be on the look out and to keep an eye on their pets. On Monday, the Côte-Nord SPCA posted a message on its Facebook page, also urging residents not to leave their pets outside, unsupervised.
Searching for food
While it's unusual for wolves to come close to populated areas, it's not unheard of at this time of year.
Université Laval biology Prof. Daniel Fortin, who specializes in behavioural ecology wildlife management, told CBC's Quebec AM with scarce winter prey, wolf packs are more likely to target larger animals, such as moose, to share among members of the pack.
"If there's no food, they won't stick around," Fortin said. "They might have killed the prey not far from the town and then moved around a little bit, and then found some food which attracted them."
"Clearly, the food source is more appealing than their fear for humans."
As to what to do when you encounter a wolf, that depends on the animal's behaviour, said Fortin. However, if a wolf approaches you, stand your ground.
"Don't run, because running will normally trigger an attack," he said. "If for some reason the wolf keeps walking toward you, then you have to make sure that he knows that you're big and tall, so raise your hand and talk very loudly."
Otherwise, he said, slowly back away from the wolf while facing it.
Although wolf attacks are rare, the City of Sept-Îles is asking anyone who sees a wolf to alert wildlife protection authorities.