More people in Happy Valley-Goose Bay have reported wolf sightings in recent months, and officials say an abundance of garbage and leftovers from hunting trips have been drawing new animals to town.
“Urban areas generate a lot of food for wolves, and the main one is garbage,” said John Pisapio, the senior biologist in the wildlife division of the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources in Labrador.
The improper storage of moose bones and hides also attracts wolves, along with incidents where hunters are unable to retrieve the animal.
“Sometimes moose are shot but aren’t mortally wounded, they run into the woods, they die a few days later, and the wolves find those. Three or four of those around town over the course of a year will go a long way to feeding a local wolf pack.”
Pisapio said intentional feeding of the animals is a problem, but garbage, both improperly stored and illegally dumped, is the biggest draw.
“The animals become reliant upon and can become habituated to [garbage], and when they become habituated, that’s when they can lose what is otherwise a natural fear of people,” he told CBC Radio’s Labrador Morning.
When wolves lose that fear of people they can become more bold and brazen.
“They’re not really looking to knock anybody down, but they can become pushy in terms of those handouts, and there’s a certain level of fear associated with that.”
The wildlife division collared two wolves in September 2016, and closely monitored them for several months to determine their travels and food sources.
Pisapio said frequent aircraft checks last winter confirmed a total of three adults in the pack, occupying an area of about 300 square kilometres, which includes…