Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Man Eating Wolves Kill Alaskan Teacher

I had barely put out the item on the man eating lions after it sitting in my to-do file for a couple of weeks when this comes in from the cryptozooloogist blog.

Humanity has forgotten just how dangerous a wolf pack is or even a pack of dogs.  Our ancestors extirpated them for cause.  I consider the reintroduction into parks to be ill considered and certain to create major management problems later.

The problem is that wolves do winter over and face real starvation every March when the snows are deepest as has particularly occurred this year.  Bears at least are quite territorial and do hibernate.  Wolves will leave normal hunting ranges and congregate in areas of possible hunting such as near towns.

In normal conditions wolves will avoid humans, but in March it is no longer a possibility.

It goes without saying that aggressive wolf management has my full support.  We actually have no other alternative but to gun them down from copters, however politically incorrect it is made to seem.

The wolf is our one efficient competitor among carnivores able to utilize the same game we use.  The lion also is a pack hunter but not nearly as capable in terms of running down game.  Both these animals, in the not so distant past, hunted humanity whenever a single individual could be isolated.  It is only in the past two centuries that we have had the capacity to hunt them out and eliminate the threat.

It is worth reading eighteenth century travelers’ tales from Europe from the Pyrenees north to get a taste of the horror wolves were held in.  A lone man on horse back riding down a snow packed road could easily find himself riding for his life and losing.  And that staple of Russian tales the troika represented a fine feast for a large wolf pack.  The travelers were snacks.  These are not wildly exaggerated ‘folk tales’.

It is no wonder that hunters with good guns and rifles made it their business to wipe out the packs.  The cost was simply too great.  Today, we learn again what that cost is.   If this pack is not exterminated now, they will be back again next winter for an easy meal or two.

This also ties in with my ongoing push to have game harvesting established and also why.  The key to predator control and I do mean wolf and wild dog control is to ensure game herds are protected and supported during late winter.  The actual economic value of the harvest will at best defray the costs of the management program.

Otherwise, this type of story can become common


[I first posted an article on the subject of wolf attacks on humans on December 9, 2007. At that time, in an article titled "What you don't know can kill you!!!", I challenged the prevailing, "politically correct" assertion by the so-called experts on programs such as Animal Planet's Most Extreme: Monster Myths, that "There has never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf killing a human in North America." I also stated that "I am so sick and tired of this kind of fallacy being foisted on a gullible public by well-meaning but misguided (or deliberately deceitful) nature lovers, either out of ignorance or for hidden agendas. Such erroneous beliefs are exactly what brought about the death of Timothy Treadwell, the so-called 'Grizzly Man.'" Now, nature has once again refuted the conventional wisdom of those who would have us believe that these apex predators have simply been the victims of "bad press" and wildly exaggerated folk tales. To read my original post, follow this link:]


Villagers in Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula take precautions after the first known fatal wolf attack in U.S. in modern times. 
March 13, 2010 | By Kim Murphy
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.

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