Inside the 218,00-acre Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota, close to the Canadian border,
University of Minnesota-led group the Voyageurs Wolf Project captured photos of a wolf that came within five feet of a group of snowmobiles.
“The wolf seemed unalarmed, did not appear to exhibit fear of people or the snowmobiles, and just sauntered/lingered in the area,” read a post from the group on Facebook, with pictures of the animal plus a warning: “Folks should exercise caution if they encounter this wolf”.
The wolf was digging in the snow next to a groomed snowmobile trail earlier this week, Wendy Pedginski told Outdoor News. “She was totally nonchalant around us,” said Ms Pedginski. “She didn’t look injured or anything, and she did not act threatened. We did not feel threatened.”
A couple of days later the snowmobilers returned to the trail but didn’t see the wolf. “Maybe she was separated from the pack or something,” said Ms Pedginski.
According to a Wolves and Human Safety study by Colorado University, wolves are typically afraid of humans, and will “avoid people, buildings, and roads if possible”. It is highly unusual behavior for a wolf to approach a group of vehicles.
“If you do happen to see a wolf acting like this, do not approach it even if it seems docile and friendly, and certainly do not feed the animal,” the Voyageurs Wolf Project warns, over fears that wolves this comfortable or conditioned to being around people may be unpredictable.
The Voyageurs Wolf Project has been in operation for seven years, and studies wolves and their prey on Minnesota’s Canadian border. It advises anyone who has an encounter with a wolf like this to report it to the wildlife office of the Department of Natural Resources on 218 757-3274, or tell the Voyageurs Wolf Project.