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Wolf attacks boy in Icy Bay

Expert says such incidents are unusual

Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2000

YAKUTAT --A six-year-old boy was bitten three times by a wolf on Wednesday at a logging camp in Icy Bay, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The wolf apparently was trying to drag the child into the woods when it was driven off by an adult.

Wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare, and the wolf's head was being flown to Fairbanks for rabies testing.

``The first thing we want to look at is this animal diseased, because it's real unusual for this to happen,'' said Mike McDonald of Fish and Game in a KTUU interview. ``I'm not aware of a recorded incident of this happening in Alaska, and probably (not) in the United States or North America.''

The victim, John Stingline, had three bites, one in his back and two on the buttocks, according to troopers. He was flown to Yakutat, where he was treated at the local clinic.

A wound in the small of his back was the most substantial bite, with puncture wounds and some tearing. The wounds to the buttocks were only puncture wounds. The boy reportedly received seven stitches and five surgical closure staples. The family declined any further treatment.

The wolf came out of the woods and attacked Stingline, who was playing in a clump of alders with a nine-year-old friend and a dog, at about 11:30 a.m.

``He was growling, but he wasn't shaking his head,'' Teresa Thompson, who witnessed the attack, told KTUU-TV in Anchorage. ``He was aware of the other people around him, but his whole intention was trying to take off with the little boy. He had literally picked the little boy off the ground, and this little boy is probably about 70 pounds.''

The camp carpenter ran over and starting throwing rocks at the wolf, troopers related. The wolf, an adult male weighing about 75 pounds, was then chased into the woods by a dog.

But the wolf, wearing a radio collar, remained in the area and Teresa Thompson's husband shot it about 10 minutes later.

A Fish and Wildlife Protection Trooper and two biologists of the state Department of Fish and Game in Yakutat examined the wolf carcass. They said it was an average size wolf, with no obvious injuries or other indications about why it may have attacked the boy. The biologists did note that the radio collar was very tight and had rubbed the fur off the wolf's neck.



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