The wolf/dog hybrid continues to roam, and hunt, on Bowen and with efforts to capture and remove the beast having failed, the municipality has shifted its goal from capture to having the creature shot.
BIM has issued another alert and there have been more reports of missing pets.
Bylaw services supervisor Chris Buchanan told the Undercurrent in an email this week that the municipality has hired a new contractor who has the expertise to "dispatch" the beast. BIM now must wait for the "the issuance of a permit to allow for the discharge of a firearm in a No Shooting Area as designated by... the Closed Areas Regulation (Wildlife Act)".
Buchanan said they requested a permit that will allow them to "address more than one hybrid in case there is more than one" though there is nothing that points to a second creature. The provincial officials said they'd work to expedite the permit process and he expects the permit to be issued around the end of this month.
Sightings have been ongoing since early in the New Year. In January one resident had the unpleasant experience of coming upon the hybrid standing over a kill his own dog. The creature was determined to be a hybrid after a photo was examined by biologists, and others, from conservation services.
Bowen vet Alastair Westcott has tried to capture the canine with a tranquilizer gun to safely remove it.
Dr. Westcott feels shooting the animal is dangerous because another dog could mistakenly be shot and a miss could potentially harm a human. Shooting the wrong dog with a tranquilizer gun is an error that can be reversed.
The vet and local RCMP caution any Islander against shooting the beast. Cpl. Don Southern has pointed out that it is illegal and that wounding the animal could make it all the more dangerous. Dr. Westcott says if anyone sights it they can call his emergency pager at (604) 806-2244 with place, time and direction details and he will seek to capture it.
Westcott said that if it cannot be rehabilitated, and it likely cannot, he says, it may have to be euthanized; at the moment the primary issue is safely removing it from Bowen Island.
A trap had been brought over by the first contractor but the animal either did not encounter the trap or, if it did, did not enter into it. It has been sighted around Cowan Point, Tunstall Bay and the Cape Roger Curtis areas and at least one golfer encountered the beast on the Bowen Island Golf Course.
There have been deer carcasses found which may have been the handiwork of the hybrid and the number of pets missing is growing. On its website, CAWES, the Coast Animal Welfare and Education Society on Bowen, has a list of two dozen Bowen pets currently missing, almost all cats. Some have been missing since 2010 but most since January, including the cat Aengus, missing from Woods Road since April 4.
Buchanan said the municipality decided to kill the hybrid for a variety of reasons: the humane trap was not successful, any use of leg-hold traps would endanger wildlife and pets, and "based on reports of damage already caused, allowing the hybrid to continue to roam the island will further risk to humans, livestock, domestic pets and wildlife."
The advisory lists safety rules should you encounter the hybrid: 1) remain calm; 2) back away slowly; 3) don't run and 4) take refuge in a safe location. Caution is recommended when hiking or when allowing pets or young children outdoors on their own. They ask that sightings be reported directly to bylaw services at (604) 328-5499.