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All Alaskans Should Know First Rule of a Wildlife Encounter: Don't Run

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / July 25, 2006


In response to the July 13 article "Woman escapes after wolf pounces":

To quote my favorite Tundra comic, "ALASKA: Step off of the bus and into the food chain!" Guys, whenever you encounter wildlife here, don't run. Stand your ground, talk in a low, soothing tone, and slowly move away if at all possible, keeping your eyes on the critter. The only time one should run is if charged by a moose, and then put a tree between you and it in a hurry.

From the extent of the damage done by the wolf, I can see that he most likely was giving her "play" bites, as he would do with a sibling. The wolf has jaw pressure of more than 750 pounds per square inch. Had he been serious, he could have crushed all muscle mass and ripped a good chunk out of each leg. Almost every dog handler you talk to will tell you that running from a dog, even a Chihuahua, triggers a prey/predator flight response; it is genetic and goes back to their wolf ancestors. Oh, yeah, this critter (probably) is a wolf ancestor. So times that response by about 100.

Moose, bears, wolf or Chihuahuas, stand your ground. There is no sense in getting the critters eradicated just to make us safer. One of he reasons most of us are here is to enjoy wildlife. Get smart or go south. Please.

---- Laura E. O'Lacy
Anchorage

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