Motion detection wildlife cameras caught this image of a wolf at The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Willowbrae-Halfmoon Bay Trail. (Photo - Pacific Rim National Park Reserve)

VIDEO: Tofino wolf sighting awes AdventureSmart coordinator

Be prepared to encounter wildlife in Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Sandra Riches is still in awe of a breathtaking encounter she had with a coastal grey wolf in Tofino last week.

“It took me totally off guard and it really shocked me. I felt really fortunate that I was having this opportunity just one on one, because there was nobody else on the beach. It was just the two of us, so it felt like a moment of a lifetime,” she told the Westerly News on Sunday. “I was just mesmerized and felt really struck by the whole experience…It was really special for me.”

Riches spotted the animal alone on MacKenzie Beach around 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 29 while exploring her surroundings outside Tofino’s Ocean Village Resort and was thrilled to capture the experience on video.

“I put on my phone and decided to video myself walking down the boardwalk there and as I was walking towards the beach I saw something come out of the corner of the left hand of the screen,” she said. “I just felt really fortunate and honoured to see such a healthy creature in its environment.”

Riches said she has enjoyed many wildlife sightings in the over 25 years she’s spent in outdoor recreation management, but the Tofino wolf stands out among them.

“This adds to the list and I’d say it’s right at the top,” she said adding that she never felt scared of the animal. “I felt comfortable and more in the moment than probably I have been in a while…No fear at all. That didn’t even cross my mind.”

She posted her wolf encounter online and the video was shared widely around social media, including by Tofino mayor Josie Osborne who posted the video to her ‘Tofino mayor’ Facebook page and urged residents to use the encounter as a reminder to be aware of the wildlife around them.

“Here’s a very visual reminder that we are living amongst wildlife,” Osborne wrote. “That’s the time of day I am often walking my dog on a local beach, how about you? Please, take good care of your domestic animals AND the wild animals by keeping your pets close, under control, and leashed.”

Riches coordinates AdventureSmart in B.C. and was visiting the West Coast to meet with Parks Canada around preventing incidents around shorelines.

“We’re all about outdoor safety, personal preparedness and situational awareness,” she said. “It’s about incident prevention and how we can be prepared and safe.”

She added that she was happy to share her experience and video with Parks Canada staff, who were pleased to see the wolf showed no signs of habituation.

“He sensed me or saw me because he stopped and, as you can see in the video, he kind of glanced in my direction and then turned and went back where he came from. So, from Parks Canada’s perspective he did exactly what he should have. He didn’t act habituated or anything of the sort,” she said.

She said her encounter shows the importance of researching locations before exploring them.

“We can be ‘adventure smart’ in many ways. We can be prepared with gear, but mentally we can be prepared as well and that can really get us through situations,” she said. “This was a once in a lifetime chance, but there are signs posted throughout your community of the wildlife in the area and that’s my responsibility to educate myself about what’s in the area…Do your own homework before you head out so that you are aware of wildlife situations.”

She said AdventureSmart is working closely with Parks Canada on preventing incidents and promoting the CoastSmart program to help locals and visitors stay safe around West Coast shorelines.

The group is hoping local businesses can help deliver CoastSmart messaging to visitors this summer and asks anyone interested in helping spread the safety messaging to reach out to her at bccoordinator@adventuresmart.ca or 1-604-671-2241.

“We’re trying to primarily work closely with the outfitters, so that they can help us increase awareness to the visitors of town,” she said. “If anyone is interested in partnering up with us, we’re here for you. We’d love to get this ball rolling. We’ve got it started and the more people the merrier that can jump on board.”

READ MORE: Wolves kill dog on Tofino beach

READ MORE: Author presents wolf research in Tofino

READ MORE: Wolf attack prompts dog-ban at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

READ MORE: Wolf killed in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve between Tofino and Ucluelet



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Information session upcoming in Courtenay for potential Habitat for Humanity homeowners

One year ago, Kiley and her husband attended a homeownership information session… Continue reading

Hitched Wedding and Event Affair is a busy affair

This year Hitched is happening at the Comox Community Centre.

Darcy Sharpe wins first place in men’s snowboard slopestyle at Winter X Games

The two-time Olympic slopestyle bronze medallist is among 31 Canadians competing

Comox Community Baptist Church celebrates 40 years

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever: His faithfulness… Continue reading

Famed brother, Africa inspire Comox artist Monica Meyer Huisamen

She already sold several works since this week’s opening at Milano

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 21

Bouquets to and from the Adopt-a-Grandparent program; beef to people setting off fireworks

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Most Read