An advisory has been issued after wolf sightings recently reported in the Timmins area.
Kevin Kilgour, a management biologist with the Timmins district Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, said the wolf sightings started about two weeks ago. He said they've been spotted in South Porcupine and the Kettle Lakes Provincial Park areas.
“It is kind of unusual, they’re pretty wary of people and people who have spent time in the woods know how hard it is to see one. They’re usually gone before we get a chance to see them,” he said.
The advisory notes that while wolves generally avoid humans, they can lose their fear if they learn to associate people with easily-available food.
"When this happens, wolves may repeatedly approach homes and people," reads the advisory.
"Wolves are fascinating and unique members of Ontario's wildlife heritage, symbols of wilderness, and an integral part of a functioning ecosystem. Aggressive behaviour toward people is unusual, but you should use caution when any wild animals are close."
According to the MNRF, if you see a wolf you should keep your distance and it will most likely avoid you. If the animal is aggressive:
- never approach or touch a wild animal
- do not turn your back or run from a wild animal
- back away from the animal while remaining calm
- stand tall, wave your hands, and make lots of noise
- carry a flashlight at night
The Ministry has also released these tips to prevent attracting wolves:
- Do not feed wolves (or other wildlife) — either intentionally or unintentionally. It attracts them to your property, makes them less fearful of humans, and makes them accustomed to food provided by humans.
- Wolves are attracted to products containing meat, milk and eggs. Properly store and maintain garbage containers. Put garbage at curbside the morning of the scheduled pickup rather than the night before.
- Well-lit yards or the use of motion sensor lighting may make your property less attractive to wolves and other nocturnal wildlife
- Keep pet food indoors
- Keep pets inside at night
- Keep pets on leashes
- Do not let your pets wander unsupervised unless confined to a fenced yard
If a wild animal poses an immediate threat, call 911. Kilgour said if it isn't a threat, you can report sightings to the MNRF district office by calling 705-235-1300.