“I saw a Siamese cat shoot out in front of the road like it had been shot out of a gun, and the wolverine was right behind it.”
Kevin Barry of Coastal Taxi remembered driving by the Alcan apartment buildings on Haisla Boulevard last week around midnight when he saw it happen. Another wolverine quickly followed suit, he said, but he thinks the cat managed to escape up a fence as by the time he turned his car around, the two animals were pacing before a fence.
“I’ve worked in the bush my whole life and I’ve only ever seen one wolverine. I’ve seen three in the last 24 hours,” he said, noting he saw a third larger one between two bridges on his way to the Methanex dock.
Conservation officer Gareth Scrivner said it’s rare to see one wolverine in a lifetime. But Barry’s sightings are not the only rarity in Kitimat this summer.
As of last Monday, about 60 cats were reported missing to animal shelter manager Maryann Baumbach, who has been taking reports of missing cats since May after one wolverine was spotted eating a cat in the back yard of a home on Whittlesey St.
“It’s getting to the proportion where this is totally stupid,” said mayor Joanne Monaghan.
And although Scrivener said only two cats in Kitimat are confirmed dead due to a wolverine, he said pat of that confirmation process means examining the body.
As it stands, there is no proof the other missing cats were consumed by wolverines, he said.
But Sheila Eynon doesn’t need bodies to suspect wolverines as the culprits.
One of her family cats is missing.
“We’ve never seen anything like this around here before,” she said.
She is afraid that the wolverines will not distinguish cats from small children.
And she said that before last Friday, her concerns went unheard by conservation officers.
But according to Scrivner, capturing the animal has not been a high priority to conservation officers until now because the animals do not pose a threat to humans.
Scrivner said that wolverines have always lived around this area, and there have never been reports of the animal attacking humans.
Never the less, he said that with numerous sightings over a longer time span, the wolverines have become enough of a nuisance to be dealt with.
Scrivner visited Kitimat last Friday and set a trap for the animal.
He said conservation officers are interested in reports of animal sightings from eye witnesses, however, not of missing cats.
He asked witnesses to call 877-952-7277.