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View Full Version : A fatal attack by wolf in Alaska



dogwood
12-03-2010, 07:18
It's not certain yet, but from the sounds of things everyone is pretty sure it was a wolf (wolves) who killed a female runner in Alaska. She was only five feet tall, so not an imposing figure.

http://www.backpacker.com/fatal_wolf_attack_alaska/blogs/daily_dirt/1703

But before people start worrying too much about wolves, such attacks are exceedingly rare in North America.

If confirmed, this will be only the first fatal wolf attack in Alaska and the second documented fatal attack by a healthy wild wolf in North America (the other being an attack in 2006 in Canada). Inuit oral traditions speak of a couple of killings over the last few hundred years and Native Americans talk of occasional attacks, but we're talking one every century or two.

There have been a few fatal attacks by wolves kept as pets, and a few by rabid wolves, but healthy ones almost never kill people in North America. And it's only the Grey Wolf engaging in attacks, the red wolf has never been implicated in an attack.

The situation in Europe is different, of course and your wolves are more aggressive -- no one is sure why.

In any event, it's a sad story.

Shewie
12-03-2010, 08:12
Sad news indeed, but when humans cross paths with predatory creatures then attacks are bound to happen occasionally. It gives the animals a bad name which is wrong though.

R.I.P Candice Berner

scrogger
12-03-2010, 08:34
I was reading about the Yellowstone Wolves the other day. They seem to be roving wider for food so the article said so a cull has been ordered as they are taking live stock. I think they have been told the quota was around 220 Wolves.

Not really sure how I feel about it I understand it from the perspective of the livestock owners but I still feel a twinge of sadness hearing so many wild animals are going to be killed.

I was not aware European Wolves are said to be more agressive than American/Alaskan Wolves!! I wonder why this could be so.

Anyway sad news indeed ... may she rest in peace and thoughts go out to her family.

Andy

UKdave
12-03-2010, 08:45
The wolves are ranging further afield because there natural food source (elk) are being desimated by the sheer numbers of wolves.This is not only happening in yellowstone but all over the country,all states that have a "good" head of wolf have a falling number of Deer/elk.

locum76
12-03-2010, 10:37
All of these are issues which need to be taken into consideration before any fantastical reintroduction of wolves into the Uk takes place.

scrogger
12-03-2010, 12:33
It sounds then Dave like a cull is the only resposible thing to do to protect the deer and Elk going into decline too.

Andy

Lasse
12-03-2010, 13:12
The wolves are ranging further afield because there natural food source (elk) are being desimated by the sheer numbers of wolves.This is not only happening in yellowstone but all over the country,all states that have a "good" head of wolf have a falling number of Deer/elk.

So the amount of wolves will lower as well since there's not enough food for them, right? Then when there are less wolves more deer and elk survive etc etc... Simple dynamics of nature, or am I missing something?

locum76
12-03-2010, 13:29
So the amount of wolves will lower as well since there's not enough food for them, right? Then when there are less wolves more deer and elk survive etc etc... Simple dynamics of nature, or am I missing something?

In this case, if left to nature and no cull was implemented, the wolf population would fall after the elk, cattle, horse and sheep populations were all decimated. I presume the cull has to be implemented to preserve livestock.

Grayfox
12-03-2010, 13:30
All of these are issues which need to be taken into consideration before any fantastical reintroduction of wolves into the Uk takes place.

Naah. Bring it on. It'll help cull the ramblers association.:D

scrogger
12-03-2010, 14:15
In this case, if left to nature and no cull was implemented, the wolf population would fall after the elk, cattle, horse and sheep populations were all decimated. I presume the cull has to be implemented to preserve livestock.

I think its exaclty that reason Rob. I was at the Docs and was reading about it in the waiting room.

There is just something about Wolves that stirs me into wanting to be somewhere cold in a log cabin listening to them howl.... (might have to have a shot gun handy though just in case)

Whats happened with the guy who wants to re introduce a pack to Scotland?

Andy

locum76
12-03-2010, 14:23
Whats happened with the guy who wants to re introduce a pack to Scotland?


I presume he's been sectioned and carted off to Arkham to howl at the moon. :D

scrogger
12-03-2010, 14:49
lol.......... so its a non starter then?

UKdave
12-03-2010, 15:19
scrogger

I spend 2-3 weeks every year in montana,and wolves are a very serious problem?The "problem" being ones ideas of habitat and conservation,I will say from the get go that all my US friends would like to see wolves removed from the face of the earth,what people dont realise is that a wolf on its own is just that, a lone wolf,a pack of wolves are the most aggressive and successfull hunting pack in the world,the other problem is that they are very vocal (i have heard them howl and its is a sound to behold) which puts the living fear in the other animals and they spook and move on,now if they are in there birthing grounds when this happens then they will usually self abort or move on and the baby fawn or calf will almost always die.
So the problem is alot more complex then it looks.What do i think? because this animal poses no commercial value?then the obvious solution is to make it one, or, cull them to a point that they do not have any enviromental impact (either too the elk and deer herds or livestock)the problem with that is every rancher would (and do) shoot them on sight and at what point do you stop.

As for the chap in Scotland that wanted to re-introduce them,I think his plans were derailed because of safty fears.

andybysea
12-03-2010, 15:31
Without wanting to start a arguement i would say its the increasing population of man and not wolves that cause the problem,population's expand more food needs to be produced farms-farmland and livestock expand,which then pushes wild animals into smaller area's and when they inevitably attack livestock they are then culled.

forestwalker
12-03-2010, 15:41
Population dynamics for wolves are somewhat complex, but available prey is definitely one of the factors. As to decreasing elk, is that from a sane number to a low, or from a state of overpopulation to a more normal number? Here in Sweden, if you ask a forestry company about the moose population they will say "way too high", if you ask the hunters they will say "on the low side". And "random" culls can misfire: hunters might take more of the adults with established territories, and that means that young inexperienced individuals move in. And young individuals have a greater tendency to experiment with new prey; a wolf will only hunt about 5 different species, the rest are not seen as prey, but they can over time and as a response to lack of food change their "list". So if one culls an alpha pair that hunts moose and deer, they young individuals that take over might very well add sheep to the list.

I am in favour of selective cull of problem individuals (mainly those that take livestock or (unprovoked) attack dogs, or that spend too much time around human habitation). But the danger to humans is miniscule. For Alaska, how many die each year in accidents involving snowmobiles, aircraft, hunting, taking a bath or while having sex? Once those number are in one can compare the current case (tragic as it may be) with those numbers. There is probably a brown bear hibernating somewhere on the ridge behind my house (I'd give the probability as better than 70% that we have one within 5 km of our house), and there have been wolves in the area. I have no fear of hiking in the woods, no fear of having my children playing in them (the risk of them getting lost and dying of hypothermia before they are found is vastly greater).

As to reintroducing them in the UK I think it would be a bad idea, not because of the danger to humans, but because there is som many more sheep than deer (i.e. one would expect a high rate of predation of the sheep), and too few areas where they can live well away from human habitation. Unless one can make a case for habitat for a thousand wolves it is, IMHO, not viable from a purely biological standpoint (which is my beef with the current limitation in Sweden; 210 is far too few in the long run).

JohnL
12-03-2010, 15:42
As for the chap in Scotland that wanted to re-introduce them,I think his plans were derailed because of safty fears.

I seem to remember the majority of people were in favour of the idea, only the farmers were against it.

Didn't some Eastern Europeans do some research & came up with a recording of wolves howling, other packs would hear it & stay away thinking it was annother packs teritory?

scrogger
12-03-2010, 15:48
Andy I agree with you in some respects, as a species we have evolved to the point were we seem to have to make these awkward choices. Someone is always going to be flogged for what they think.

I was only talking to someone the other day about a deer cull as they are destroying habitat that other creatures need. I often thin would it not sort it self out if left to its own devices?. Maybe, maybe not I am not knowledgable enough in such areas to comment. The thing is we have now got to the point as mankind that we nearly always do interfere or intervene its what we have now been doing for centuries. Its a complex area I love to see wild animals doing what they were born to do but when we throw mankind into the mix something usually has to give and its usually the wildlife.

I suppose after all we are animals aswell.

Its a fine line to discuss this I think without it at some point becoming a major argey bargey session.

Anyway are you off with Tony This weekend? I am not going to make it with it been Mothers day!!!

andybysea
12-03-2010, 16:04
Nope not going this weekend Andy,(i was away last and im off to outdoor show in a couple of weeks so need to have a weekend with misses and kids)

I agree that things would sort themselves out if left to own devices,(well not now with intense farming ) they did okay before we where here, its only since we turned from hunter gatherers to farming and our populations expanded due to increased food production that problems have arose between us and Animals, after all before we where here we obviously didnt cull them and nature found a way.
ps im not against hunting for food in any way shape or form.

locum76
12-03-2010, 16:20
I seem to remember the majority of people were in favour of the idea, only the farmers were against it.


hmmm, I think the majority of people around the proposed site are farmers.

dogwood
12-03-2010, 17:36
I was reading about the Yellowstone Wolves the other day. They seem to be roving wider for food so the article said so a cull has been ordered as they are taking live stock. I think they have been told the quota was around 220 Wolves.


The Yellowstone situation is extremely complex and VERY political. The area is bounded by vast cattle ranches and the movement of elk and especially bison is constrained because of fears of brucelosis. Yellowstone bison and elk can carry brucelosis, although it doesn't affect them negatively.

There is hope that a new Russian vaccine for the disease will be successful -- it's being tested on some bison now -- but it will be a few years until we know. Until a successful vaccine is found, bison and elk from Yellowstone won't be allowed to free range outside the park even though the transmission mechanism from them to cattle is debated.

The concerns about brucelosis and the wild population are as much political as medical -- and besides, free range CATTLE ranching is pretty much a thing of the past, more than 90% of the US beef supply is from feed lots/factory farming...Sad, that...

Anyhow, because the elk and bison can't free range, an expanding wolf population impacts a constrained prey population more heavily.

Failing allowing the bison and elk to roam, the proper solution in my mind is to move the wolves to another location, not a cull.

As a general rule, excessive depredation is one of the first steps to severe problems with wildlife management. You need plenty of predators about to have a healthy ecosystem.

It's just not a lesson that many people want to hear. If it has claws or fangs, the public gets panicky...

The events in Alaska are sad. But statistically speaking wolves pose essentally no threat to humans -- you're more likely to hit the lottery and get hit by lightning on the same day that be killed by a North American wolf.