Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is calling for a moratorium on wolf hunting after claims an entire wolf pack was killed in the Sooke area by a trophy hunter.
There’s no confirmation by wildlife officials the pack was killed. Still, naturalist Gary Schroyen, who’s monitored and photographed the pack for several years, hasn’t seen the wolves for several weeks, Sam Webb, president of Wild Wise Sooke, said.
Fears of the wolf’s pack demise began swirling earlier this year when a Victoria-area trophy hunter posted selfie photos on her Instagram account in early February, holding what appeared to be two dead wolves.
In a post, Jacine Jadresko said she was made aware of “a problem wolf pack that was snatching people’s cats and dogs.” She said she set traps and caught two wolves. “Full pack removal is always the goal, so now we adjust and reset,” she wrote in the post.
Through her lawyer, Jadresko said she killed two wolves from a pack in southern Vancouver Island this year but has not hunted or trapped any wolves since. The two wolves were trapped on private property and were reported to the B.C. Environment Ministry.
Hunting and trapping wolves on Vancouver Island are a regulated activity, the ministry said in a statement. Hunters have a three-wolf limit. There is no limit to trapping wolves.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said it received few calls in the past year regarding wolves in the Sooke-Metchosin area, and all were reports of sightings only.
The conservation officers confirm they are not investigating any wolf hunting or trapping-related complaints on southern Vancouver Island.
Tait said Jadresko had not broken any laws, and she doesn’t want any harm to come to her.
“The issue is that the wolves have no protection, and they’re regarded as vermin, and we need to do better, especially in a community that prides itself by being Wild By Nature.”
Tait is now backing an Oak Bay resolution that would suspend recreational wolf hunting on the Island until a study is completed on its impacts.
“Many of us in Sooke was sickened by this callous threat, especially given how all levels of government and many (non-government organizations) are working so hard, effectively and strategically to protect wildlife and habitat,” Tait stated in a letter to Katrine Conroy, the minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
“We in Sooke are certainly encouraged to learn of your (Conroy’s) willingness to consult with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the B.C. Trappers Association to ‘close the loopholes’ in hunting legislation that allows the kind of behaviour illustrated by this regrettable situation. This said a moratorium on hunting and trapping on Vancouver Island is urgent and essential until we learn more about the Island’s wolf population.”
Wild Wise intends to honour this pack by posting videos and photos on its website as inspiration to protect Sooke wolves, said Webb.