Sunday, January 18, 2015

#11 - Historical Wolf Research - Part Three

Give Me No Lie

Red Wolf Caught On Film: YouTube

60,000+ Wolves In North America

Canada has an estimated 52,000-60,000 wolves. Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon each have 5,000 wolves, British Columbia has 8000 wolves, Alberta 4,200, Saskatchewan 4,300, Manitoba 4,000-6,000, Ontario 9,000, Quebec 5,000 and Labrador 2,000. The United States has up to 9,000 wolves which are increasing in number in all ranges, Alaska has a stable population of 6,000-7,000 wolves, Minnesota has a population of 2,900 wolves, both Wisconsin and Michigan each have 600 wolves as of 2008. The Rocky Mountain states (Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) have an approximate population of 1,700 wolves. A small number of wolves are known to inhabit Oregon and Washington, and there are now at least 42 wild Mexican wolves in the southwest United States. An undetermined number of wolves have been found in Colorado and in the northeast US... (information source)

Humans have been attacked by wolves in Alaska. The late David Tobuk carried scars on his face from a wolf attack on him as a small child. The incident occurred around the turn of the century in interior Alaska.  David was playing in his village near a river. An old wolf came into the village and bit David in the face and started to carry him off.  Other Eskimos saw the wolf dragging the child off and started yelling and screaming. The wolf dropped the child and was shot by an old Eskimo trapper who had a gun. (Interview with Frank Tobuk, brother, Bettles, Alaska, December 1988.)

Paul Tritt, an Athabascan Indian, was attacked by a lone wolf while working a trap line. Paul was setting a snare, looked up and saw a wolf lunging at him. He threw his arm up in front of his face and it was bitten severely by the wolf. A struggle ensued. Tritt was able to get to his sled, grab a gun and kill the wolf. Nathaniel Frank, a companion, helped Tritt wash the wound with warm water. Frank took Tritt, via dog sled, to Fort Yukon to see a doctor. The arm healed, but Tritt never regained full use of it. Several years later, the arm developed problems and had to be amputated. (Interview with Paul Tritt, Venetie, Alaska, November, 1988)

Two wolf attacks on humans occurred in 2000.
Icy Bay, Alaska - Six-year-old John Stenglein and a nine-year-old friend were playing outside his family's trailer at a logging camp when a wild wolf came out of the woods towards the boys. The boys ran and the wolf attacked young Stenglein from the back, biting him on the back and buttocks. Adults, hearing the boy's screams, came and chased the wolf away. The wolf returned a few moments later and was shot. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) officials, the wolf was a healthy wild wolf that apparently attacked without provocation. The boy was flown to Yakutat and recieved stitches there for his wounds. Later, however, the bites became infected and the boy had to be hospitalized. (Reports and Interviews on file and available upon request.)
Vargas Island, British Colombia - University student, Scott Langevin, 23, was on a kayak trip with friends. They camped out on a beach and, about 1 AM, Langevin awoke with something pulling on his sleeping bag. He looked out and came face to face with a wild wolf. Langevin yelled at the wolf and it attacked, biting him on the hand. Langevin attempted to force the wolf toward a nearby campfire, but as he turned, the wolf jumped on his back and started biting him on the back of his head. Friends, hearing his yells, came to his aid and scared the wolf away. Fifty (50) stitches were required to close the wound on Langevin's head. British Colombia Ministry of Enviroment officials speculate the reason for the attack was due to the wolves occasionally being fed by humans although there was no evidence that Langevin or any of his party fed these animals. (Reports and Interviews on file and available upon request.)
This is but a brief summary of a few verifiable accounts of attacks on humans by healthy wild wolves in North American History.
Biologists tell us that the wolves of Asia and North America are one and the same species. Wolf attacks are common in many parts of Asia.
The government of India reported more than 100 deaths attributable to wolves in one year during the eighties. (Associated Press, 1985) This author recalls a news report in 1990 in which Iran reported deaths from attacks by wolves.
Rashid Jamsheed, a U.S. trained biologist, was the game director for Iran. He wrote a book entitled "Big Game Animals of Iran (Persia)." In it he made several references to wolf attacks on humans.  Jamsheed says that for a millennia people have reported wolves attacking and killing humans. In winter, when starving wolves grow bold, they have been known to enter towns and kill people in daylight on the streets. Apparently, in Iran, there are many cases of wolves running off with small children. There is also a story of a mounted and armed policeman (gendarme) being followed by 3 wolves. In time he had to get off his horse to attend to nature’s call, leaving his rifle in the scabbard. A later reconstruction at the scene of the gnawed bones and wolf tracks indicated that the horse had bolted and left the man defenseless, whereupon he was killed and eaten.
A Russian Linguist, Will Graves, provided our organization with reports of wolves killing Russian people in many areas of that country. Reports indicate some of the wolves were diseased while others appeared healthy.  (Reports on file and available upon request.)
Reports have also come from rural China. The official Zinhua News Agency reported that a peasant woman, Wu Jing, snatched her two daughters from the jaws of a wolf and wrestled with the animal until rescuers arrived. Wu slashed at the wolf with a sickle and it dropped one daughter, but grabbed her sister. It was then Wu wrestled with the animal until herdsmen came and drove the beast away. This incident occurred near Shenyang City, about 380 miles northeast of Beijing. (Chronicle Features, 1992)
The question arises: "Why so many attacks in Asia and so few in North America?"
Two factors must be considered:
1.      The Philosophy of Conservation - Our forefathers always believed that they had the right and obligation to protect their livelihoods.  Considerable distance was necessary between man and wolf for the wolf to survive.
2.      Firearms - Inexpensive, efficient weapons gave man the upper hand in the protection of his livelihood and for the taking of wolves.
Milton P. Skinner in his book, “The Yellowstone Nature Book” (published 1924) wrote, "Most of the stories we hear of the ferocity of these animals... come from Europe. There, they are dangerous because they do not fear man, since they are seldom hunted except by the lords of the manor. In America, the wolves are the same kind, but they have found to their bitter cost that practically every man and boy carries a rifle..."
Skinner was correct. The areas of Asia where wolf attacks occur on humans are the same areas where the people have no firearms or other effective means of predator control.
But ... "Biologists claim there are no documented cases of healthy wild wolves attacking humans."
What they really mean is there are no "documented" cases by their criteria which excludes historical accounts. Here's an example.
Rabid wolves were a frightening experience in the early years due to their size and the seriousness of being bit, especially before a vaccine was developed. The bitten subject usually died a slow, miserable death. There are numerous accounts of rabid wolves and their activities.  Early Army forts have medical records of rabid wolves coming into the posts and biting several people before being killed. Most of the people bitten died slow, horrible deaths.  Additionally, early historical writings relate personal accounts. This author recalls one historical account telling of a man being tied to a tree and left to die because of his violent behavior with rabies after being bitten by a wolf. Such deaths left profound impressions on eyewitnesses of those events.
Dr. David Mech, USFWS wolf biologist, states there are no "documented" cases of rabid wolves below the fifty seventh latitude north (near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory). When asked what "documented" meant, he stated, "The head of the wolf must be removed, sent to a lab for testing and found to be rabid."

Those requirements for documentation negate all historical records!  If you allow them too...

*Facts to garner - when "they" get old and can't catch food...  They are still going to have to eat.  It's just a fact.

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