A wolf attack is an attack on a human by a wolf or wolves. Under normal circumstances, wild wolves are generally timid around humans. Wolves
usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected, though there are several reported circumstances in which wolves have been recorded to act aggressively toward humans.
Compared to other carnivorous mammals known to attack humans in general, the frequency with which wolves have been recorded to kill people
is much lower, indicating that though potentially dangerous, wolves are among the least threatening for their size and predatory potential.
The ability of wolves to kill cattle, sheep, poultry, and other livestock is well documented (Young and Goldman 1944, Carbyn 1983, Fritts et al. 1992). From 1975 through 1986 an average of 21 farms out of 7,200 (with livestock) in the Minnesota wolf range suffered verified losses annually to wolves (Fritts et al. 1992). In more recent years, 50 to 60 farms annually have been affected by wolf depredations in Minnesota. Domestic dogs and cats are also occasionally killed and eaten by gray wolves.
In many instances, wolves live around livestock without causing damage or causing only occasional damage. In other instances, wolves prey on livestock and cause significant, chronic losses at individual operations. In Minnesota, wolf depredation on livestock is seasonal, most losses occurring between April and October, when livestock are on summer pastures. Livestock are confined to barnyards in the winter months, and therefore are less susceptible to predation. Pictured, Wolf shown with livestock prey.
Cattle, especially calves, are the most common livestock taken. Wolves are capable of killing adult cattle but seem less inclined to do so if calves are available. Attacks usually involve only one or two cattle per event. Depredation on sheep or poultry often involves surplus killing. In Minnesota, wolf attacks on sheep may leave several (up to 35) individuals killed or injured per night. Attacks on flocks of domestic turkeys in Minnesota have resulted in nightly losses of 50 to 200 turkeys.
Wolf attacks on livestock are similar to attacks on wild ungulates. A wolf chases its prey, lunging and biting at the hindquarters and flanks. Attacks on large calves, adult cattle, or horses are characterized by bites and large ragged wounds on the hindquarters, flanks, and sometimes the upper shoulders (Roy and Dorrance 1976). When the prey is badly wounded and falls, a wolf will try to disembowel the animal. Attacks on young calves or sheep are characterized by bites on the throat, head, neck, back, or hind legs.
Biodiversity and Conservation Student Steven Hoelzer
The red wolf is one of the rarest and most endangered in the world. Predator control programs and hunting have brought this animal to near extinction. In 1980 there were fewer than twenty wolves that roamed the wild. These wolves were rounded up by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be bred in captivity. The wolves were officially declared extinct in the wild. Read The Rest Of The Story
The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other being the gray wolf, Canis lupus. As their name suggests, red wolves are known for the characteristic reddish color of their fur most apparent behind the ears and along the neck and legs, but are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs. Intermediate in size to gray wolves and coyotes, the average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about 4 feet long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.
Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding adult pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity.
Current Red wolf Facts:
- There are two species of wolves in North America: gray wolf and red wolf.
- Historically the red wolf roamed as a top predator throughout the southeastern United States.
- Aggressive predator control programs and clearing of forested habitat reduced the red wolf population to 17 wolves by 1980.
- In compliance with the Endangered Species Act, the first red wolf recovery plan was completed in 1973; implementation begins.
- Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild between 1980-87.
- Restoration began with 4 pairs of red wolves released into the ARNWR in 1987.
- Today 100-120 red wolves call northeastern North Carolina home. This is the world’s only wild population of red wolves.
- There are over 40 Species Survival Plan captive facilities in the United States. Many have viewing opportunities visit: http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/rwfacilities.html
- Restoration area consists of 1.7 million public and private acres in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Beaufort and Washington Counties.
- Approximately 20 packs live in the wild in northeastern North Carolina. A pack consists of an adult pair and often pups.
- Pups born annually in April and May. In 2009, there were 41 pups born among 11 litters in the wild population – PLUS 4 fostered pups. In the captive population, there were 12 pups born among 3 litters.
- Life span in the wild: 7-8 years / in captivity: up to 15 years.
- Red wolves are wary animals and rarely seen in the wild.
- Red Wolf Recovery Program is located in Manteo, NC, at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) office.