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Wolves rumored to have killed Alaskan teacher

[large thumbnail url=”wolves-rumored-to-have-killed-alaskan-teacher” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”03″ day=”10″] [thumbnail icon url=”wolves-rumored-to-have-killed-alaskan-teacher” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”03″ day=”10″] 32-year-old Candice Berner of Chignik Lake, Alaska, was found dead Monday. A group of young men who found the body believed wolves were responsible.

However, the Department of Fish and Game spokesman Bruce Woods, stated the other obvious possibility:

“The (woman) might have died of something else and wolves might have found the body,”

Investigators declined to reveal more details Tuesday, but some sources reported that the family had been told that the woman had died following an animal attack, possibly wolves. However, investigators also are determined to make sure that there was no other factor involved in her death.

While rumors abound that wolves are responsible, it may be some time before the cause is determined for sure. Unfortunately, if wolves had scavanged from the body, they may have made it more difficult to determine an exact cause of death.

If this is in fact a wolf-caused death of a human, it would be the second on the North American continent. The first – the case of Kenton Joel Carnegie – was strongly argued during a two-year-long investigation. The government expert believed the death was caused by a bear, the opposing expert – hired by the family of Carnegie – was sure it was wolves.

Fatal wolf attacks against humans are almost unheard of on this continent – however, less than 20 cases have been reported in the last 50 years in Europe and Russia. Rabid wolves have been known to attack humans. And wolf attacks against dogs are well documented.

As always, take the necessary precautions when entering areas with known predators such as bears, mountain lions and wolves.

  • Under no circumstances should you feed any wild animal. Food should be secured in airtight containers or secured in a safe location away from any camp site.
  • Pets, especially dogs, should never be off leash – and in areas with wolves should be protected even more judiciously. Wolves will see dogs as territorial threats, and your presence may not be sufficient to protect your dog. If in doubt, don’t take your dog at all.
  • Predators do not, in general, see you as prey. However, they may see you as a threat, especially if you wander too close to their young.
  • Before going into an area where predators are known to be, make sure you know how to react if you encounter a predator. Whether you are dealing with a mountain lion, bear or wolf, running is never the correct move. They can all run faster and turning your back will trigger the predatory instinct.
  • Maintaining a healthy level of respect for the animals around you will ensure you keep your wits about you and give you the best chance to calmly, and safely, remove yourself from the situation.

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