|Posted on July 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM|
First Posted on December 9, 2007; Updated July 2012
WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN KILL YOU!!! - CONCLUSION
Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated
By R. Merrill
Excerpts from: http://www.wildsentry.org/WolfAttack.html
Within the imagination, we conjure wonder and mystery as well as expectations of hope, terror, affection and fear. For many people, the wolf is a chimerical creature that stalks the imagination—a shape-shifter that lurks through one mind in the guise of a demon or as a saint in the mind of another.
"There's never been a documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing a human in North America." If we received two bits for every time we've heard this overstated statement, we could buy all those North American wolves filet mignon. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to say it too, at least twice during the course of a Wild Sentry program.
Unfortunately, the "no healthy, wild wolf" sound byte is often misstated with the word "killing" replaced by "attacking". This is not true. Wild wolves have attacked humans in North America. That's why we always add, "This doesn't mean that wolves have absolutely never killed a human or that they never will. After all, humans never cut a deal with wolves to leave us alone." So how much danger do wolves pose to people? Should we steer clear of dark forests inhabited by wolves? Are the reasons given for aggressive wolves more an apologia than an explanation? Is it reasonable to think that wolves will eventually kill a human?
Before reviewing recent wolf attacks in North America, it should be noted that, outside of North America, wolves have killed humans. Tales about massive wolf packs devastating caravans of Russian troikas (as in Willa Cather's My Antonia) are undoubtedly fiction. During their brief reign of terror in France from 1764 to 1767, the infamous Beasts of Gervaudan (sic) killed at least sixty-four people—but it's been well established that these animals were hybrids not wolves. Most of the deaths blamed on wolves in southern and central Europe and in central Asia are attributable to hybrids or rabid wolves.
(Cryptozoologist's Note: It is the height of modern-day arrogance to dismiss the stories of wolf attacks on caravans of Russian troikas as "undoubtedly fiction". Additionally, my own research does not support the assertion that "it's been well established that [the Beast(s) of Gévaudan] were hybrids, not wolves". I believe it has been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Beast of Gévaudan was actually a pet hyena raised by the very man who later shot it and took credit for killing the "monster.")
However, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, from March to October 1996 and March to April 1997, a wolf or wolves killed or injured as many as seventy-four Indian children, almost all of them under the age of ten. The deaths occurred among children playing or relieving themselves on the outskirts of small villages. There were also reports of a wolf entering huts, though it sounds as if no children were harmed.
Recent Attacks in North America
Clarence Lindley was reportedly attacked by a 125-pound timber wolf. The incident occurred in early November, 1992 on the Figure 4 Ranch in Dunn County, North Dakota. Lindley was hunting horseback when the wolf attacked Lindley's horse causing it to jump and fall. Lindley was able to grab his saddle gun, a lever action Winchester 94, as the horse fell. The horse recovered its balance and Lindley found himself face to face with a snarling wolf. "My heart was pounding," said Lindley, "I could see those big teeth. He was less than five feet away... He meant business; he wasn't going to back off." Lindley fired his rifle at point blank range and killed the wolf with a shot to the neck. Lindley left the wolf since he couldn't get his horse close to it. On return to his hunting camp, his hunter friends failed to believe the account. They returned to the scene and skinned the wolf. The pelt was a flawless black and gray pelt measuring seven and a half feet from its feet to its snout. Its bottom teeth measured one and a half inches; top teeth—one and a quarter inches. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF) confiscated the hide and head of the wolf and took it to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for determination of its species. Tests revealed that the wolf was non-rabid. The wolf was thought to have come from Canada. (Reports on file and available upon request.)
In Ontario, Canada where thousands of people visit Algonquin Provincial Park—and many of them come to see or hear wolves—five people have been bitten in the past twelve years. During August 1996, a wolf dragged 12-year-old Zachariah Delventhal from his sleeping bag. This particular wolf, prior to attacking Zachariah, had entered campsites and taken things such as a backpack, tennis shoe and other human items. As we've been in contact with the Delventhal family, we can let Zachariah describe what happened. He wrote the following in November 1996:
"The scariest night of my life… was the last night of a terrific 10-day camping trip at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. We were exhausted and wanted to get out the next morning quickly so we decided to sleep under the stars. I remember dreaming that me, my mom, and my dad were walking through the woods. Then I felt pressure on my head and the woods started flying past. I awoke and still felt the pressure, but there was a new feeling of pain. I screamed, immediately the pressure released and the pain lessened. I opened my eyes—nothing but dark forest. I had been dragged six feet and I knew it was an animal mouth that did it. I yelled, 'Something bit me!' My mother came and held my sleeping bag to my face. Then my dad got up and started yelling. I got scared as he disappeared into the underbrush but he came back. I asked, 'What was it?' Then came two terrifying words, 'A wolf.' I immediately started to pull away from where I was dragged, I freaked. It was so scary and confusing at the same time. I didn't want to get eaten by such a strong animal. As for confusing, think about this—I had been told wolves don't attack people and here I was practically killed by one. My list of wounds is extensive. I had over 80 stitches to close the many cuts, my nose was broken in five places, I am missing a piece of my ear, my gums, and my tearduct and cheekbone were punctured. After all this, don't be scared to go in the woods, don't think of wolves as killers. The chances of getting attacked are so slim; I can't get a hold of the fact that I was attacked. My parents were wrong when they said wolves don't attack people, but wolves almost never do."
Two years later, on September 25, 1998, another Algonquin wolf circled a little girl and, despite blasts of pepper spray, didn't leave until the child entered a trailer. Two days after that, a nineteen-month-old boy sat playing in the middle of camp, with his parents twenty feet away. The father thought he saw a dog emerge from the brush. He turned away for a moment and when he looked back, he saw his son in the jaws of a wolf. The wolf held the boy for a moment and then tossed him three feet. A local newspaper quoted the parents, "It wasn't hit and run. He hit him [the infant] and then it was wait and see. He [the wolf] circled the picnic table a number of times before he was scared off enough to leave." The infant received two stitches for minor injuries.
On April 26, 2000, a six and nine year old boy cut down small trees as they played at being loggers on the outskirts of a logging camp near Yakutat in southeastern Alaska. Upon seeing a wolf, the children fled. The wolf took down six-year-old John Stenglein and bit him on the back, legs and buttocks. A neighbor's golden retriever rushed to the rescue, but the wolf drove the dog back and then set upon John again. The boy's cries brought adults who drove the wolf away. John received seven stitches and five surgical closure staples.
During the evening of July 1, 2000, on the shores of Vargas Island, British Columbia, a wolf entered the campsite of a kayaking group. They chased the wolf away. Members of the group also spotted another wolf that apparently hung back from the bolder wolf. At 2 a.m., 23-year-old Scott Langevin awoke with a small dark wolf tugging on his sleeping bag. "I yelled to try to spook it off, and I kicked at it," Scott said. "It backed up a bit, but then it just lunged on top of me, and it started biting away through my sleeping bag."
He rolled in an effort to situate the fire between him and the wolf, but the animal jumped on his back and bit him about the head. The noise woke his friends and they drove the wolf away. The wounds to Scott's head required 50 stitches.
In all of the previous incidents, the offending wolves were killed. Autopsies indicated healthy animals. Why did These Attacks Happen?
In a wolf journal, the headline to an article about the Uttar Pradesh deaths read "Child Lifting in India". Child Lifting doesn't sound very serious—it diverted my thoughts from what actually happened and evoked visions of gleefully tossing a child up and down or a weight training program that utilized children instead of barbells. The headline struck me as ethnocentric or, at the very least, as an attempt to explain away or gloss over wolf behavior that doesn't fit in with a Never Cry Wolf vision of the animal.
We do wolves a disservice if we strive to mold them into saints of the wild. However, reasons exist that may help us understand why the wolf (or wolves) killed children in India. The following is a list of factors wildlife biologists think contributed to circumstances that resulted in the deaths of the children:
1. Human density of 1,500 per square mile and livestock (goats, sheep and pigs) density of 950 per square mile;
2. Scarce prey for wolves;
3. Three-times more unescorted children than livestock;
4. Outdoor toilets on outskirts of village;
5. A government compensation program that pays 5,000 rupees ($125—an amount that exceeds India's average annual per capita income) for children killed by animals;
6. Victims all from very poor families;
7. And, probably the most important factor, as evidenced by their entering huts, wolves that are habituated to humans.
Habituation and food conditioning play major roles with the wolf attacks in Algonquin Provincial Park. The wolf that attacked Zachariah had frequented campsites and taken human items, it had clearly lost a fear of humans. Some wolf biologists felt that the wolf might have been interested only in the sleeping bag. This could have been the case to begin with—however, such an explanation falters at the point the wolf took Zachariah's head in its mouth. As wolf biologists Pat Tucker and Diane Boyd pointed out, "Wolves olfactory senses are beyond our imagining. Only a scent-impaired wolf would fail to differentiate between a sleeping bag from a human." Initially, the wolf may have been attracted by the sleeping bag and, grabbing for it, mistakenly got a hold of Zachariah and, instead of running away, decided to see what happened next. This seems to be a case of habituation giving rise to experimentation.
There have been other reasons provided to explain the aggressiveness displayed by Algonquin wolves.
1) The release of captive wolves and hybrids in the park and;
2) The offspring of released hybrids and wild wolves.
In both cases, the animals would be less timid of humans. However, in light of autopsies that revealed no evidence of hybridization or a life in captivity, such explanations end up sounding more like a means of covering for wild wolves.
Like humans, wolves possess character traits that shape them into shy, bold, dominant, submissive, extroverted or introverted individuals. The word bold, when attributed to a wolf, sounds synonymous with aggressive, but that's not necessarily the case. Think of a bold wolf as an open-minded wolf. A bold wolf could be a subdominant animal forced to strike out on its own or a wolf with a genetic make-up that made it less timid or more curious.
The main point here is that such a wolf would be inclined to experiment and, if rewarded with food procured from scavenging or direct feeding, it would grow habituated to humans and associate us with food. Once a wolf became food-habituated it could continue experimenting, pushing limits in search of new rewards. Such an animal could prove a threat to humans.
Some people believe that aggressive wolves result because humans no longer pose the threat we used to—their reasoning goes something like this, "If we killed wolves, they'd learn to be scared of us." Such reasoning, while not entirely errant, isn't necessarily correct either... Aggressive wolves may have begun as bold wolves but not all bold wolves are aggressive (bold and aggressive are not synonymous). Besides, poisoning, trapping, and the indiscriminate killing of wolves doesn't exactly target the problem. True, there wouldn't be any more aggressive wolves because there wouldn't BE anymore wolves, and therefore the problem would cease to exist, but it'd be kind of like cutting off your head to clear up acne.
Habituation and experimentation also seem to account for the Alaskan and Vargas Island wolf attacks. The Alaskan wolf had hung around camps for up to two years, been fed, and was clearly habituated to people as it had shown fearless behavior in the past. John Carnes, a University of Idaho biologist (with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources), who had collared the wolf, felt that the dog could have been viewed as a competitor. But it's crucial to remember that the wolf commenced an attack on the boy, and after driving the dog back, it returned to the boy. Carnes pointed out an interesting fact, "The wolf bared its teeth and growled at the boys before attacking. This is more important than people realize. Wolves typically do not show aggressive behavior towards prey, usually only toward other wolves or dogs." He concluded "that this was a habituated wolf that was showing dominance/territorial behavior… the key factor is that the wolf was habituated to people."
As for the wolf that attacked kayaker, Scott Langevin—following the attack, numerous people reported that the wolves were being fed. Dan Dwyer, the Senior Conservation Officer for BC Environment said that there's been an escalating problem with campers feeding wolves. Wolves on Vargas Island, which is a popular kayak destination, were regularly visiting campsites and investigating fire pits. Again, a food-conditioned, habituated animal… behavior that may have started with experimentation and led to pushing the limits too far.
WHY DON'T WOLVES KILL US?
Here are some of the reasons cited by biologists why wolves don't kill us:
1) We stand on two legs, the animals wolves prey on don't. (This reason doesn't stand on its own two legs in light of the humans killed in India.) Additionally, the wolves that used to inhabit Japan preyed heavily on monkeys (another primate that spends time on two legs).
2) Bears can stand on two legs and wolves generally avoid bears. Well maybe, generally… but, wolves have been observed harassing grizzly bears feeding on carcasses, some wolves have learned to prey on bear cubs and in another instance, young wolves paraded in-line behind a grizzly.
3) Our favorite theory is that humans simply don't taste good (probably due to all those additives).
The real question in regards to wolves killing people in North America isn't 'why' but 'when'—eventually it's bound to happen (and since this printing, already has!) The number of humans continues to expand and wildlife habitat continues to shrink. Add to that, people who, believing wolves will sense their love and reciprocate, head into the woods hoping to lure their "spirit animal" closer with a sandwich. And then there are slobs who leave food and garbage where bold wolves will be rewarded for overcoming their inhibition of humans.
Educating our communities about the beauty and importance of wolves is not enough. We must take responsibility for the pressure we are putting on them AND accept that when a creature's environment is altered, behavior will change. We are concerned that all the hype on "wonderful and wild wolves" lulls us into the belief that we are safe with them. It is our hope that wolves will flourish in the wilds of the world. But with the anti-wolf sentiment that already exists, other attacks will surely convince people that wolves need to be done away with."
This essay is not meant to reinforce age-old fears of the wolf. The threat from wolves is inconsequential compared to other dangers we unflinchingly face every day. But wolves need to be treated like wild animals because, after all, that's what they are. If something is wild, you don't feed it, try to get close, or expect it to return your warm fuzzy feelings. If you truly respect wildness, you honor it by leaving it alone. When in the company of wolves, accord them the care, caution, and respect that you would extend to a bear or mountain lion or any other wild animal:
1) Don't feed them;
2) Clean campsites and fire rings of foodscraps;
3) Avoid intruding on den or rendezvous sites;
4) Deposit trash in animal-proof containers (at home and when camping);
5) If a wolf wanders into your campsite, scare it away (you'll only be doing it a favor).
6) Get a grip on your imagination.
For many people, the wolf is a construct of their imagination. Those who fear the wolf have conjured up a beast of death and desolation, a villain that should be killed before it kills us. This perception hasn't served wolves well. But the naïve perception of the wolf as a noble shepherd who eats only sick, weak mice doesn't serve wolves well either. When something is elevated upon a pedestal, there is only one way it can go from there—down. The portrayal of wolves as noble, beneficent animals places an unfair expectation on them, an expectation they can only fail to live up to. Many a saint has become a martyr at the hands of those who once adored him. When a North American wild wolf kills a human, as inevitably will happen, those who vilify wolves will feel all the more justified demanding their extermination, while those who sanctified wolves will stand bewildered, stunned, and gasping, "That wasn't suppose to happen. I thought that no healthy wild wolf has ever…"
With that said, bear in mind that the threat of wolves to humans is so nominal, it shouldn't even be a bleep on your radar screen. But your relative safety in the presence of wolves doesn't mean they like us. Wolves don't care if they're your "totem animal". They don't care, much less know, about their bad-guy portrayal in Little Red Riding Hood. The perception of wolves as rapacious villains or a golden race reveals more about the beholder than it does about the creature of flesh and blood. Wolves are intelligent, social, adaptive, wild animals with character traits that vary from individual to individual. Have our lives grown so complacent, sterile and safe that we're compelled to conjure demons and saints instead of baring our senses to what stands before us. True mystery and wonder is revealed to those who open their eyes, it is comprised of earth's elements not the vaporous, phantasmagoric whirling of imagination.
WOLF IDEOLOGUES AND RESPONSIBILITY: MAN-EATING COMES CLOSER TO HOME
7/30/07 by Jim Beers, retired FWS biologist. HERE for KBC Wolf Page.
On November 8, 2005 Kenton Carnegie a 22 year-old college student from Ontario was working at a mine in northern Saskatchewan when he went for a walk. Hours later his body was found at the edge of a lake in snow covered with wolf tracks. He had been chased and knocked down several times before he was killed and worse.
Note the date November 2005. I am writing this in late July 2007. The Canadian and Saskatchewan governments have yet to issue a finding about the cause of death and the swirl of hidden agendas, academic disingenuousness, and bureaucratic gamesmanship rivals (if such is possible) anything seen in the context of environmental and animal rights falderal in the United States. Trying to analyze the situation is especially difficult for me since I am not a Canadian and, even were this going on in the United States, any attempt to examine it would be subject to vilification and hyperbole.
My reluctance to stick my nose in here evaporated last night as I watched several of the Discovery Channel propaganda features presented under the rubric "Shark Week". First there was the "documentary" on the shark attacks on the crew of the USS Indianapolis. The hubris involved in calling it the "worst shark attack in history", when thousands of ships have disappeared throughout history and undoubtedly untold numbers of sailors and fishermen that went into the water were killed by sharks never to be seen again, was astounding. The "experts" that commented were, without exception, people with a basic opinion that sharks are, for a variety of reasons, to be protected and studied at all times. The bottom line from the University of Florida "expert" was that very few of the sailors were killed by sharks and we are all just victims of having watched "Jaws". The similarities to the propagandizing of wolf behavior were overwhelming.
Then there were the photos of sharks coming out of the water with seals in their jaws. Never a word about the explosion of this shark food (seals) for 35 years and its certain increase in shark health and numbers as a result. This was interspersed with all sorts of technological descriptions of shark bites. Always those interviewed, including some victims that lived, expressed admiration for sharks and opposition to any "retribution" or killing of sharks. No one advocates "retribution" or killing all sharks but does that mean there can be NO DISCUSSION of managing the numbers and distribution of sharks considering factors like human activities and fishery resources?
The real issues are unmentioned in all the smoke and mirrors being passed off as a comprehensive look at sharks. For instance, should beaches or waters where deadly sharks congregate periodically be opened to swimmers or surfers? Should sharks be discouraged (that means everything from finding some means of scattering them to killing a certain number of them) from using areas where humans are in the water routinely? What impact are sharks having on reduced or healthy fish stocks? Should we be managing shark species' numbers and distributions in ways that protect human safety and allow fisheries to recover and increase? What is the primary role of government (both in the US and under UN policies) vis a vis human safety, fishery management, local economies, and species preservation and sharks? What is the impact of exploding Pinniped (seals, et al) and expanding Cetacean (whales et al) populations (i.e. shark food) on shark numbers and distribution? How should shark numbers be managed? Who advocates shark management and why are they never heard from? There are more such questions but you get the point. Be it shark attacks or wolf attacks or bear attacks, the publicity is the same: man is the culprit and no matter how many or what the impact of these animals on men and their communities, management of men and not the offending animals is "the answer".
As I watched this propaganda I could not get the savage killing of Kenton Carnegie by wolves and the ongoing cover-up out of my mind. The differences in manipulating information and government duplicity in the US and Canada, like the shark pseudo-biology and wolf misinformation about how benign these harmful and deadly creatures are, as the old German saying goes, "machts nichts". This means the differences are "of no consequence" or "not important". So let's look at the Kenton Carnegie affair and learn what we all can.
November 8, 2005, Kenton Carnegie, a 3rd year Engineering student from the University of Waterloo, goes for a walk when he gets off work at a mine in N. Saskatchewan. His remains are found several hours later in the snow on the edge of a frozen lake. There are wolf tracks all around. According to those who found him:
"He walked from the camp. About a kilometre away, on the edge of a frozen lake, a wolf appeared, following Carnegie's footsteps through the snow, said Rosalie Tsannie, the province's coroner for the north, who was called to the scene and arranged for Carnegie's body to be removed.
Carnegie died close to the trees, less than a mile from the camp.
Carnegie must have become aware of it—the snow pattern showed he quickened his pace.
There were other wolves on the way. One or two more moved in from the side, as the first wolf tracked him from behind, Tsannie said. "I believe he saw this wolf behind him.
"That's when he thought he would have been in trouble and started running. And just shortly after that, about seven feet from there or less, the first scuffle happened, and there's about five [sites of scuffles] that led to the point where the men had discovered his body."
The searchers who went looking for Carnegie read the signs in the snow. They found footprints and then wolf tracks that told a story about Carnegie's final struggle.
They say he fought hard, that he was knocked down and the animals drew blood but he kept getting up. Finally, the animals took him down and he could no longer get to his feet. It was getting dark when searchers found his remains, about a kilometre from the camp. The wolves were still there, close to the body, so the men retreated and called the RCMP."
Since that date (20 months after the killing):
-The government hired a wolf "conservationist" and "protectionist" to handle the investigation. Like the shark "experts" he will never have met a critter that should be killed or a population that needed to be controlled. Such "experts" are really only "expert" at blaming people for what they are actually responsible for by excusing and obfuscating animal facts, the danger from animals, and animal behavior.
- The government "investigator" has blamed a black bear. (Note that the attack took place in snow in November in N. Saskatchewan where most bears begin hibernating in September. He maintains that a bear killed Kenton and then wolves arrived and covered up the bear tracks. I'll bet his dog ate his homework when he was a kid too.)
30 July 2007
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.
HUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED IN IDAHO WOLF ATTACK
Hunter Becomes The Hunted In Idaho Wolf Attack
Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , [email protected]
Published On: Oct 12 2011 05:58:35 AM PDT Updated On: Oct 12 2011 06:58:57 AM PDT
PIERCE, Idaho - A North Idaho grandmother considers herself lucky to be alive after she was able to shoot and kill a wolf as it tried to attack her on a recent hunting trip.
The wolf snuck up on Rene Anderson late last month near Headquarters, Idaho about 125 miles southeast of Spokane.
Anderson has a wolf tag but was actually trying to bag an elk that day back in September. She was using a cow call to try and lure in whatever bulls were in the area but was actually ringing the dinner bell for something else.
"Well I had just made it to the top of the ridge and I was checking the wind to make sure I wasn't going to give myself away," she said.
Anderson is an experienced hunter who's not afraid of being in the woods alone, but while she was hunting for elk she realized a 100-pound wolf was hunting her.
"It was coming down pretty fast towards me; it was kind of nerve racking. I laid my bow on the ground and I thought this thing seriously wants to eat me," she said.
Anderson knew just how much danger she was in because just six days before, wolves had killed three of her best friend's hunting dogs.
"The first dog I found was Ruby," hunter Shane Richards said. "They didn't try to kill her by getting her by the throat like they say predators do. They just went in and started tearing her guts out, eating her alive."
After dropping her bow she unholstered her .44 Magnum and opened fire.
"So it popped up over there, like ten feet from where I was and I shot it and I hit it in the head," Anderson said.
Wolf sightings have now become common place in north central Idaho and people living in these rural logging towns are getting more and more worried about the safety of their pets and families.
"And you see a lot of women now, because of this, packing their pistols while taking their kids for walks. You can't leave your kids at bus stops, you've got to watch them every minute," Anderson said.
The wolf Anderson shot that day is one of 30 killed by hunters in Idaho so far this year.
While environmentalists worry a wolf population that's still recovering in some areas can't withstand that kind of hit, if you were to ask the residents in Clearwater County, they'd tell you 30 dead wolves is still not enough.
WOLVES KILL TEACHER IN ALASKA
March 13, 2010 | By Kim Murphy
Villagers in Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula take precautions after the first known fatal wolf attack in U.S. in modern times.
Reporting from Seattle — Hunters were combing the snowy brush around Chignik Lake, Alaska, on Friday in an attempt to hunt down up to four wolves that killed a 32-year-old special education teacher in the first known fatal wolf attack in the U.S. in modern times.
But the wolves were elusive, and villagers were hoping that state game officials would send in a helicopter to help track the animals, Village Council President Johnny Lind said.
"They've been looking and scouting around, and the wolves are definitely still around, but they're smart, and they take off before you can get close to them," Lind said.
Candice Berner, a special education teacher who traveled among several rural schools on the Alaska Peninsula, 475 miles southwest of Anchorage, was attacked while jogging and listening to her iPod Monday evening on the deserted, 3-mile-long road that leads out from the village to its small airstrip.
A native of Slippery Rock, Pa., she had been working in Alaska only since August. Her body was found by snowmobilers a short time after the attack. It had been dragged off the road and partially eaten, and was surrounded by wolf prints.
"Our investigation points to wolves being the most likely culprit. It is the only predatory animal that is active in the area that we're aware of, and we also believe the wolves have been increasingly threatening to people in the area," said Megan Peters, spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers. "They've been getting too close, circling, making people fearful for their safety."
Christi Aleck, another resident of the village, said that while there are always wolves in the area, three to four have been lingering unusually close over the past week or so and have been sighted again since the attack.
"They come in at nighttime, not very far from the village, and they're just kind of watching," she said. "They're waiting for somebody else to go out again, I guess."
She said villagers are driving their children to school and keeping them indoors during recess.
"People are scared. Oh yeah, they're scared," she said. "Nobody's walking around anywhere. I mean, wolves have always hung around in the wintertime, but they've never attacked anyone."
The only known previous fatal wolf attack in North America over the last 100 years occurred in 2005, when a young geology student was attacked and partially eaten by a pack of wolves in northern Saskatchewan.
In at least two other cases, there were attacks—in Alaska and again in Saskatchewan—that were halted by rescuers before they became fatal.
"What the research shows is that in the last 10 or 20 years, as wolves have kind of re-colonized areas where they were extirpated around the turn of the 20th century, and as people have also developed more habits of going out into national parks and wilderness areas, we've had more aggressive encounters," said Mark McNay, a retired Alaskan wildlife biologist who has studied wolf attacks.
Wildlife attacks in Alaska are relatively common. "Certainly we have bear maulings, we have people bitten by wolves, we have people that are stomped by moose," Peters said. "Having an incident where a human and animal cross paths and it doesn't end well, that's normal. But we don't have any other case on hand that we're aware of where someone was actually killed by a wolf."
Peters said state troopers had ruled out the possibility that Berner had died from any other cause and was later dragged away by wolves.
TWO CHIGNIK LAKE WOLVES KILLED
Two wolves were killed Monday night, one week after a special education teacher was attacked and killed by wolves while she was jogging.
The wolves match the description of the animals seen near the site where 32-year-old Candice Berner's body was found in the town of Chignik Lake, according to an email from Jennifer Yuhas, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. An autopsy confirmed Berner was killed by wolves. The medical examiner reported there were animal bite marks on Berner's throat. Berner's partially eaten body was found after search teams on snowmobiles followed a trail of blood.
Fish and Game employees shot the wolves in an aerial response effort. One wolf was a lighter color than the other, and one wolf appeared to be in better shape than the other. The wolves were killed in the Chignik drainage.
No fresh wolf tracks have been reported near town, and ground efforts by local hunters were unsuccessful on Monday because of the rough terrain and the weather. Fish and Game employees will continue hunting, Yuhas said.
LIST OF KNOWN FATAL WOLF ATTACKS
Follow the link below for a list of known fatal wolf attacks worldwide by century in reverse chronological order. Attacks which occurred in the 21st century are listed by decade.