Forestry Worker Fends Off Wolf Attack

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Although wolf attacks are rare in B.C., the Forest Safety Council has issued an alert following a forestry worker’s encounter near Merritt

B.C.’s Forest Safety Council has issued a safety alert for workers after an employee of Lawes Forest Management Ltd. was confronted by a pack of wolves while working near Merritt on October 15.
According to the company, the worker was returning to her truck when the pack of wolves approached within three metres of her. As the worker reached for her bear spray, one of her two dogs approached and started fighting with the wolves, estimated to number at least five. The worker retreated to her truck with one of the dogs to call for help.
The other dog continued fighting with the wolves but returned to the employee after she called the dog to heel. That dog sustained severe injuries and was later euthanized.
Tanya Lawes of Lawes Forest Management says that although frightened, the worker was not physically injured.
“An actual wolf attack is very rare,” according to Mike Badry, a wildlife conflicts prevention coordinator with B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, adding he knows of only two documented cases in B.C.: a kayaker who was attacked while sleeping outside on Vargas Island in 2000, and another kayaker who was attacked by an emaciated female wolf on Anderson Island in 2007. In the latter incident, “the kayaker suffered some cuts but was eventually able to, I think, kill the wolf with a knife he had,” said the conservation officer.
“Certainly they don’t tend to be offensive like a grizzly bear would be to protect their young or a food source. It could be territorial, but that’s way more common to things like dogs, which was likely the case in this scenario, where the woman had two dogs with her.”
The Forest Safety Council bulletin recommends preventative actions in wolf encounters, including using your arms to appear as large as possible and using a commanding voice to convince wolves you are a threat, not prey. Aggressive behaviour such as shouting, throwing sticks and rocks, or bear spray, may be necessary if the animals approach close enough.