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Info on Wolf Attacks July 13, 2005 12:09 PM

Wolf Q&A

Monday, July 11, 2005 An Independence Day encounter between two hikers and a wolf pack raises questions about human interaction with wolves. Here are a few of them, with answers from Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Were the hikers wrong to take their dog into a potential wolf area? "These people did the absolute right thing," Bangs said. "They had the dog under control." Will authorities make the area off-limits to dogs? "No," said Bangs. "There's no reason a person shouldn't be able to hike in the woods with their dog. When you take your dog out of doors, there are grizzlies, coyotes, wolves. ... If you have your dog under control, none of those things are really a significant threat to your dog." Would the hikers have been punished if they had shot the wolf? Bangs: "That would have been up to law enforcement." Though the hikers felt threatened, Bangs said they weren't in any real danger. If a criminal case, a jury would have to decide whether the hikers' fear justified shooting the wolf. Penalties for illegally killing a wolf are up to one year in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. Are authorities going to remove the pack? Bangs: "No. Why would we? That would be like, 'I saw a mountain lion. I want you to remove it.' Nothing happened. The guy got a little scared, the wolves got a little scared. No harm, no foul. The wolves weren't really a physical threat to him or his girlfriend." What should people do in this situation? Bangs: "Enjoy it. They'll be gone in a second." Bangs said the hikers did the exact right thing, by keeping the dog close. "If you want to pick up a stick, if it makes you feel better, that's OK. Slowly back out of the area. Leave them alone. It will be fine. They're not going to hurt anybody. If you've got a group of people, stay together so you don't get a wolf between you, and so the wolf doesn't run over somebody trying to get away from you." 900800d31.txt __________________________________

A look at wolf attacks

There have been 20 wolf attacks on people in the past century, according to a Norwegian research report. Here are some recent examples: 1994 -- In the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, a wolf was seen around campsites showing no fear of humans. It later bit two people in the campsites, a boy and an adult woman. 1996 -- In the same park, a wolf apparently tried to drag off a sleeping bag containing a 12-year-old boy. The boy was bit on the head and was dragged for about two meters. The wolf was driven away by the boy's father. The boy suffered a broken nose and required 80 stitches to his face. The wolf had been seen close to campsites in previous weeks and had made several attempts to grab clothing and camping equipment. 1998 -- In Algonquin Provincial Park, a wolf was showing a lack of fear of humans around campsites. It attacked dogs in campsites three times. In September of that year, the wolf circled a family with a 4- year-old girl. The father sprayed the wolf with pepper spray. The next day the wolf attacked another dog. Two days later it approached a family having a picnic, grabbed their 19-month-old baby by the chest and tossed it about 1 meter. The family was able to chase the wolf away. 2000 -- In Ice Bay, Alaska, two boys were playing on the edge of the forest near a logging camp, along with their golden retriever. A wolf approached them to within a few meters. The boys screamed, and the dog attacked the wolf. The wolf ran past the dog and attacked the youngest boy, age 6, biting him on the back, buttocks and legs, resulting in 15 puncture wounds. The adults drove the wolf away, and the father later shot the wolf. The wolf had been seen around logging camps and might have been eating garbage. Source: "The fear of wolves: A review of wolf attacks on humans." The report can be found at Click on "Learn," then, "Intermediate information." 2cc1700c71b9e87257039007fcf32.txt

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