British Columbia

Man in his 70s mauled by wolf in northern B.C. flown to Vancouver with 'significant injuries'

Conservation officials are tracking down a lone wolf they believe attacked a man in his 70s on a residential street in Port Edward, B.C., leaving him with 'significant injuries.'

Conservation officers hunt lone wolf after 'unprovoked' attack on man in a front yard

Wolves are common in northwestern B.C., but attacks on people are very rare, according to conservation officials. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Conservation officials are hunting a lone wolf they believe attacked a man in his 70s in a front yard in northwestern B.C. late Friday.

Conservation Inspector Cam Schley said the man was attacked while walking home through a residential neighborhood in Port Edward at about 11 p.m.

The wolf attacked the man's lower body, leaving him with "significant injuries," said Schley.

Officials were able to interview the man from his hospital bed before an air ambulance flew him to the Lower Mainland Saturday afternoon.  

Conservation officials are tracking a lone wolf, like the one in this file photo, after a rare attack on a senior citizen in Port Edward, B.C. (Dawn Villella/Associated Press)

"It's our understanding that the man was sent to Vancouver for further medical treatment," the conservation officer said.

Officials don't believe the  man's injuries are life threatening. But the attack is alarming.

"This is very, very rare. Wolf attacks on people in North America are extremely rare," Schley said.

He said it's not yet clear what triggered the unprovoked attack. "That's a bit of a mystery ... we're trying to piece together."

On Sunday, Schley said officers were actively tracking the wolf and would continue their efforts through the night. But he said tracking dogs aren't effective and trying to capture wolves is very difficult.

"They are a lot harder to trap than bears," he said.

Schley said officials now believe the animal they're looking for is a lone wolf from the local area, unrelated to problem wolves in Prince Rupert, about 20 kilometres away. 

In the last few weeks, people in Prince Rupert have reported multiple sightings of wolves, as well as several wolf attacks on cats and dogs. 

 "At least one of the wolves has lost a lot of fear of people, approaching to try to get dogs that are on leashes," said Schley. 

People in the area are being advised to walk in groups, if possible, and to be aware of their surroundings.

Conservation officials are advising people in the Prince Rupert and Port Edward area to walk in groups, if possible, and to keep a close eye on their pets. (B.C. Conservation Service/Facebook)

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story, citing conservation officer Cam Schley, said neither dogs nor traps are effective for catching wolves. In fact, while it is difficult to trap wolves, it is not impossible.
    Jun 01, 2020 10:40 AM PT

About the Author

Betsy Trumpener

Reporter-Editor, CBC News

Betsy Trumpener has won numerous national and provincial journalism awards, including a national network award for radio documentary. Based out of Prince George, B.C., Betsy has reported on everything from hip hop in Tanzania to B.C.'s energy industry and the Paralympics.

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