Wolf Song of Alaska News

Wolves Kill a Half-Dozen Sled Dogs

AP / Anchorage Daily News / October 26, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A half-dozen sled dogs in the village of Marshall were killed by a pack of wolves roaming the Yukon River village, according to villagers and Alaska State Troopers.

The wolves were chased off but not before they killed three adult dogs, including a female with pups. About three of the pups were also killed. Several other dogs were injured.

"They were running through the whole town here," said Dewayne Cooper, the housing improvement officer for the Native Village of Marshall. "They're not just hanging out by the dog teams. I don't know what they're looking for, but they're obviously not scared."

Marshall, with a population of about 390, is a largely subsistence village about 400 miles west of Anchorage on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

A group of about 15 people killed at least one of the wolves and wounded several, said Maureen Larson, who works for the Marshall Traditional Council.

The wolves appeared in town Wednesday evening, when they were seen skulking near housing in the northeast portion of town, Larson said.

Some kids shot at them and scared them off, she said.

But around 8:30 p.m. they were back to begin their assault on three of the village's five dog teams, said musher Clem Kameroff, whose dogs were attacked.

Kameroff said he keeps 11 dogs and seven pups and uses his team for fishing and hauling wood. Most of them were inside a fence, but two were in kennels outside the barrier because it was too crowded, he said.

"I heard the dogs barking real hard, but I thought it was just a dog that got loose," Kameroff said.

He went outside and found the exposed dogs had been attacked. One was a 2-year-old male that was slightly injured. The other was a 10-year-old female.

"That was sort of my leader," Kameroff said. "Now it's all bloody and can't move around. I might have to get rid of it. It's too painful watching it barely move around."

Troopers got the report of the invading wolves Thursday morning, said wildlife trooper Sgt. Matt Dobson.

"I said, 'Go and get 'em. It's season,'" Dobson said. "We encourage people to hunt predators legally."

Dobson said the area near Marshall is rife with wolves because the moose population is exploding. But wolves are still generally shy and reclusive, he said, and a pack wandering into a town is "extremely unusual."

Licensed hunters are allowed to take five wolves in Game Unit 18 per year, he said, and the no-limit trapping season is about to start Nov. 10.

Killing the marauding wolves would be justified as being in defense of property, Dobson said.

On Thursday, children were walking to school with adults and in groups in case the wolves returned, Larson said, though by early evening, there were no reports of any being seen.

"We've had these problems for the past three or four years, but this is the worst we've ever had with them coming into the village," she said. "It's unbelievable. We're freaking out."

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