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Survival of the Fittest: Survive a Wolf Attack

If you’re hiking in areas that are part of a wolf pack’s territory, will you be attacked by wolves? You’re more likely to be attacked by bears or cougars, or even struck by lightning. But a wolf attack isn’t impossible, so be prepared.

A group of Norwegian scientists researched wolf attacks in Europe, Asia and North America in 2002, and found that most attacks occurred before the 20th century, and in the past 50 years, there have been only 17 people killed in Europe, and at that time, none in North America. In 2005, a Canadian, walking alone where food dumps from energy development were common, was killed and eaten by four wolves.

There are four possible reasons for wolf attacks. The first, and the probable cause of the Canadian death, is habituation: wolves become accustomed to humans, begin to associate them with food, and lose their fear of humans. Rabies is the second reason, but rabies is rare in North American wolves. The third reason is predation. While a rabid wolf will bite savagely and then move on, a healthy wolf kills and eats its prey. Typically the victims of predation are children and women, and it’s more common in Asia than here. The fourth reason is defense. A cornered wolf may bite, but rarely kills.

Stay safe by remaining in a group. Avoid being prey by making lots of noise while hiking and setting up camp. Carry a large backpack to make yourself look larger, and spread out your arms and jacket, if you happen to see a wolf, to look even larger and scarier. Make sure your tent has a lantern because wolves don’t like light – but don’t shine it directly into their eyes, as that can trigger an attack. For worst case scenarios, carry a mountaineering axe for self defense. Finally, make a fire in front of your tent (if the area isn’t under a burn ban) and keep it going all night. Wolves fear fire. Don’t feed wolves, or leave food out, and report anyone who does to park or forest rangers.

(Sources: Linnell, J. D. C., R. Andersen, Z. Andersone, L. Balciauskas, J. C. Blanco, L. Boitani, S. Brainerd, U. Breitenmoser, I. Kojola, L. Liberg, J. Løe, H.Okarma, H. C. Pedersen, C. Promberger, K. Sand, E. J. Solberg, H. Valdmann, and P. Wabakken. 2002. The fear of wolves: A review of wolf attacks on humans. Norsk Intitutt for NaturforskningOppdragsmelding: 731:1-65;; ; )


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Jun 20, 2010 at 6:45 am VictorC11304 said:

Whenever enjoying the wilderness carry a gun and be prepared to use it. Against all predators, two legged or four legged. Check the facts on wolf attacks here...