Readers contacted me a few days ago because they had seen an injured gray wolf. I’m withholding location of the injured wolf in my article for obvious reasons. I contacted Todd Schiller, Chief Warden, Bureau of Law Enforcement Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and he let me know he was looking into the situation and would have someone get back to me.
Scott Walters WDNR Large Carnivore Specialist got back to me and here’s what he had to say.
We’re aware of this wolf, and are monitoring the situation. It’s not been observed in a week or so, which may suggest that it’s moved away from the area. We’ll continue to keep track of any observations, and will respond appropriately. The fact that the wolf has been observed in yards and near roadways, and has allowed people to approach fairly closely, has raised concerns about habituation and potential human safety issues, but we’ll assess any future encounters and respond accordingly.
The wolf clearly has an injured foreleg. Wolves and other wildlife have been known to survive with 3 legs, so hopefully this wolf is able to either heal or make a living away from people in its current condition. The fact it’s only been observed alone suggests that it’s not (closely, at least) associated with a pack, and its habit of showing up near humans suggests it may be having a hard time securing food. But again, we’ll hope for the best for this animal- that being that it’s not observed again and has found a way to survive away from people.
I asked him what people should do if they see this injured wolf, and should they haze the wolf to scare it way? And his response was the following.
If the wolf is observed again, it’s of course important that it not be approached by people as an attempt at hazing. If the wolf is not moving away from people on its own, indicative of health issues or habituation, my best advice would be to have people call USDA-Wildlife Services staff at 1-800-228-1368. Honking a horn or yelling out a car window may be attempted to get the wolf to move, but I’d recommend people still contact Wildlife Services so that they are aware of the interaction. We certainly all want what’s best for this wolf, but most important is that we ensure it does not become a threat to human safety.
It’s important not to approach, follow or interact with this injured gray wolf as it would put him/her in jeopardy. Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act.