A wolf attack on May 29, 2020, has left a Port Edward resident in hospital with bites and lacerations. Numerous wolf warnings have been issued in the region over the past few weeks. A radio-collared wolf just after its release, with ear tags and a radio collar in a U.S. tracking program from 2009. (File photo)

UPDATED: Port Edward senior in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack requires surgery

Conservation officers on site

A Port Edward senior requires surgery and is in hospital after sustaining injuries from an unprovoked wolf attack late Friday night (May 29).

Frank Russ told The Northern View that his 72-year-old father, Stanley Russ, was attacked around 11 p.m. while walking back to his home on Evergreen Avenue after visiting the next-door neighbour.

Russ was bitten multiple times with some deep lacerations to his arms and legs, and was in stable and alert condition on Saturday morning, however, was taken into surgery on Saturday afternoon, which may take several hours, his son said.

Cam Schley, inspector with Conservation Officer Service confirmed the attack “was completely unprovoked from what we can determine.”

Wolf attacks on humans are almost unheard of and there have been no reported incidents previously in the Prince Rupert and Port Edward regions.

“Wolf attacks on people are very rare, much more rare than even bear attacks,” Schley said, “I mean bear attacks are rare too, but wolf attacks are even more rare.”

“We are going to be in Port Edward over the next number of days, if necessary. We are going to have officers in Port Edward for the next 24 hours, a day shift and a night shift.”

“We are actively searching for the wolf that attacked this individual,” Schley said.

Four officers during the day and three at night are posted to the area to complete roaming searches. It is hard to say if the wolf will come back to its point of attack, said Schley.

As to why a wolf would attack a human in an unprovoked manner, Schley said the answer is probably going to lie in the wolf.

“That’s why we are trying to capture it. That will be part of our investigation and trying to figure out if this is perhaps the same wolf that has been over in Prince Rupert killing cats and dogs.”

Schley warned these wolves have lost their fear of people which is evident by how brazen they have become.

The possibility lies that the wolf which attacked Russ is a completely different wolf to the ones killing cats and dogs in Prince Rupert.

“Is there a possibility it has started to feed on garbage? Is there somebody who is feeding it? That will all be the stuff we will be looking into as far as the investigation goes,” Schley said.

When asked about the possibility of rabies, Schley said it is very rare in Northern B.C.

“…but once we do capture this wolf, we will be putting it down – then that will be part of the next (phase) of the investigation, is doing a number of tests on the animal to see if there are any diseases,” Schley said.

More to come.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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