Discovery Island closed

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by WGalbraith, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    Last month I paddled out to Discovery to discover new signs on all of the beach landing areas. Apparently the island is still closed to all recreation due to a wolf interacting with visitors and their dog. I paddled close to the shore and along to Rudlin Bay hoping to use the facilities after a decent paddle across in 15 knot headwinds. As I approached the beach I noticed movement along the shore trail which turned out to be a very healthy looking wolf. She followed along for at least a kilometer before disappearing into the woods. I was able to catch a couple of pictures.

    I sure hope that some decision will be made soon as to the status of one of my favorite local destinations. I cannot believe that because a wolf has been spotted here for several years now that the island is off limits to people.
     
  2. RobR

    RobR Paddler

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    This is very disappointing news as it's my favorite paddling area in Victoria
     
  3. benson

    benson Paddler

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    We were camping there in September when the wolf/dog incident occurred. I thought it was to be a 6 month closure while the park was deciding the safety issue. Plenty of warning signs if visitors would just follow the rules. I imagine the wolf is pretty bored. As novel as it is to have a wolf in the islands there, It likely would be happier with a mate elsewhere. Plenty of politics with that issue. Hope it gets squared away soon!
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    No expert, but my limited observations of wolf flux in the Brokens suggests that smaller islands sans suitable prey, and isolated from other sources of prey, are wolf free in months, not years.
     
  5. benson

    benson Paddler

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    I believe this male wolf is able to range most of the Chatham Is group. According to the ranger we talked to it has taken advantage of the shallow water rock piles that the harbor seals use to haul out. There is a Victoria area woman who has followed this wolf essentially since it's been there and may be planning to write a book about it. She had motored out to Rudlin Bay the morning after the incident and talked to my wife in detail about it. I think she and the ranger felt very protective of the wolf. It's a unique situation and there is room to make this work. Those using the island need to be smart and respectful and it can remain a great place to paddle and camp.
     
  6. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    Before the closure I camped there a number of times. It was very eerie to hear the mournful howls at night. On another occasion about 4 years ago, I was just off Sea Bird rocks in large waves as I rounded the point, the seas were calmer and I noticed the wolf following my progress around to the old dock on the East side. He/she followed me along the shore for at least a km. before heading off into the bush.

    It is more than annoying to be unable to visit the island and I hope the powers to be figure out a plan before Spring.
     
  7. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I'm privy to one piece of correspondence with BC Parks:
    - Park currently closed to public visitation to facilitate study of island's lone wolf.
    - Park expected to re-open for public-use in Spring 2017.

    update - no set time for re-opening.
     
  8. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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    Very interesting!
    The wolf in the photo looks healthy.
    So what is the wolf eating?
    How long would it take for that wolf to eat all the available prey on the island?
    Is there enough seafood, like seals, there to feed the wolf?
    At 7 pounds a day, that will add up to a lot of seals in a year.

    Or could somebody be feeding that wolf?


    Roy
     
  9. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    I would think that a seal pup is around 20-30 lbs, good for a few days at least, as the wolf may not eat every day, but gorge one day, fast for a few. I have seen lots of scat from the wolf on my last trip there in September. It also munches on birds (who can fly there), lots of rodents, as was evident in the scat I saw. Besides prey swimming or flying to the island, the wolf can also swim to other islands, and many have seen him do that. So, bottom line, the "island" will not run out of food for him, and if it gets slim pickins' he will swim to another place to live. IMHO

    P.S. I have heard rumour of the local natives leaving deer carcasses, but no proof exists for this, and is not needed, as per what we see, a healthy animal.
     
  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    The animal's health may not be the prime reason: other concerns are also in play.
     
  11. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Mick, Might you be referring to the belief that Staqeya (the name given by the Songhees) is believed to be their late chief reincarnated?
     
  12. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    All parks are much more sensitive to cultural concerns now. Cultural concerns is one, if not the, main reason that Discovery is closed for an indefinite period.

    [hmm . . is that a sentence?: Cultural concerns is . . . ?]
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    It's a pity that the value : "unfettered access to public recreation lands" can't count as a 'cultural concern'.
     
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Does anybody have more 'official' information about the extent of the closure at Discovery?
    Paddling friends have told me that somebody from Parks said (at a SISKA meeting) that lunch stops and toilet use were OK, but hiking and camping were forbidden.
    From the signage, (like WGalbraith) I'd assumed that landing was forbidden.

    I notice in today's Times Colonist that the wolf came to the shore to 'observe' a birding group.
    http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b...red-in-lucky-encounter-off-oak-bay-1.10221392

    I'd be happier if wolf was staying well away from humans, not exhibiting the curiosity that WGalbraith and the birders found. Of course, if food is being left for the wolf, humans will be associated with 'food delivery'...no good outcome from that unless humans are banned from the 'park' for the next 10-20 (?) years or whatever the wolf's lifespan will be.
     
  15. benson

    benson Paddler

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    Sounds like the poor guy needs a conjugal visit!
     
  16. Mike_Jackson

    Mike_Jackson Paddler

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    I can confirm that the wolf is seen regularly. I think I have seen him more than a dozen times now. It is not afraid of people, but also does not approach. He does follow you along the shore sometimes at a sensible distance.
    It is eating seals and other marine life. Several kills have been seen (and photographed). It looks as healthy last week as it did 4 years ago.
    In reality, very little has been happening to "study" the wolf.
    The park IS still closed but I have had verbal confirmation that the park boundary does not extend into the intertidal zone...
    I will be asking BC parks for an update... if I get one I will repost here.