Update: Wolf With Mange at City’s Landfill

Wolf Sighting. Courtesy Amanda Mora. Photo taken at City Landfill. January,2018

Saultonline has an update to share with our readers about the wolf with mange that was spotted by several citizens at the Sault’s Landfill.

According to Mike Blanchard, City of Sault Landfill Manager, the wolf has not been spotted for about 14 days at the Landfill site.

“We haven’t seen it for a couple of weeks. The landfill is pretty much open at the north end of the landfill. We see all kinds of different animals here, but we haven’t seen the wolf for a while now.”

“In the industrial environment we have here, it would be very difficult to coordinate an intervention specifically targeting the wolf.”

“I talked with Howard Smith from Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (in Muskoka) about the wolf and if we see it again, he was open to coming and attempting to trap it, with MNRF approval.”

Located near Rosseau, Ontario, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (AVWS) was started in the early 1970s by a caring individual who wanted to help rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. AVWS, located on 460 acres of natural habitat, has grown into a leader in wildlife rehabilitation.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Conservation Officer Marc Breton stated, “Wolves, fox and coyotes are all prone to catching mange. In my 16 years of working in Sault Ste. Marie, I’ve noticed a great deal of mange amongst our wild canine population. The worst being in coyotes where, if badly infected, will cause hair loss which can lead to death.  It seems wolves get mange but not as severe and from what I’ve read wolves can eventually build immunity and fight the skin parasites and recover.”

Wolf Sighting. Courtesy Amanda Mora. Photo taken at City Landfill. January,2018

On the issue of attempting an intervention with food infused with a medication to help combat mange, Breton said, “I have never heard of medications being distributed for wild canines. I’m sure there is medication that could be prescribed from the vet to help a family pet. The problem with wild canines such as wolves it would practically be impossible due to the fact that wolves are sociable animals and interact with other wolves thus spreading the mites causing mange.  Also the landfill site has numerous birds such as bald eagles and ravens which would most likely be the ones ingesting the food deposited for the wolf (i.e. deer meat). As a result there may be unanticipated or adverse effects on such non-target species.”

Breton further stated, “Another consideration is the risk of habituation especially since repeated feedings are required for effective treatment.  The abundance of scavengers at the landfill site would necessitate a controlled administration of the medication that would likely require a human to be present when the wolf is fed (to ensure the wolf is actually getting the medication.) This could lead to the wolf losing its fear of humans, imposing a greater risk to its safety and the safety of the public.”

“As far as legalities in feeding wild animals I don’t see anything that says you cannot, but feeding wild animals within the city limits may pose a problem attracting them to humans which may habituate and cause the wolf to associate food with humans.” shared Breton.

In the original story  HERE, Tessa Vecchio, City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Corporate Communication Officer stated,

“It’s important to note that the City does not have a policy regarding intervening with wildlife. The City does not have the authority to trap animals. For obvious reasons there are a number of safety concerns with having the public intervene with wildlife situations.”

Mike Blanchard said that if the wolf makes another appearance – he will reach out to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary again, and proceed from there.

Howard Smith, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in a conversation with Saultonline, shared that wolves are very difficult to trap. He said that there is an AVWS volunteer currently studying at Sault College in the Fish and Wildlife programme and if an intervention is attempted, he would call on the volunteer to assist in the process of trapping the wolf.

“This volunteer has been helping us on and off for the last couple of years.”

Howard Smith (AVWS) worked for MNR for 40 years as a biologist.

If there are any further developments, Saultonline will update readers.

Excerpt from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act

Regulations: Minister

113 (1) The Minister may make regulations,

10. Prohibiting or regulating the feeding of wildlife, other than the use of feed as bait for hunting or trapping wildlife.  1997, c. 41, s. 113 (1); 2009, c. 33, Sched. 22, s. 2 (30).

The act does not prohibit the feeding of wildlife but it is illegal to use wild deer meat to feed wolves since that would be considered wastage of meat suitable for human consumption.

Marc Breton

Conservation Officer

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry


  1. There’s a wildlife sanctuary and hospital in Lively. Here in Elliot |Lake, sick wildlife are live trapped and removed by a team of vounteers to this sanctuary. Jim Johnson is the fellow in charge……last year saved several foxes with mange…and they were returned and released a few weeks later perfectly healthy.

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