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Joseph Reeves
(Umnak)

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 18:23:53 MST Print View

An unusual incident and troubling for those who don't carry some sort of deterrent (pepper spray or handgun) in the winter. We put ours away while the bears are hibernating, but will probably rethink that in areas reporting wolves and coyotes.


Teacher likely killed by wolves, troopers say


By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com

(03/11/10 15:55:30)

Alaska State Troopers today said a woman found dead in Chignik Lake early this week was killed in an animal attack, most likely by wolves, and state authorities are on their way there to try to capture or kill the animals.

"Investigation has determined that Candice Berner's death was non-criminal in nature," troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said in a statement. "An autopsy conducted today confirmed Ms. Berner died from injuries sustained in an animal attack. According to the State Medical Examiner, the manner of death is ''accidental'' and the cause of death is ''multiple injuries due to animal mauling.''

"After conferring with state biologists and the community of Chignik Lake, it has been concluded that the animals most likely responsible for the attack are wolves."

Troopers director Col. Audie Holloway said troopers investigating the scene found many wolf footprints around the body and bloody drag marks in the snow. Berner's body had been partially predated and had teeth marks on the throat, which was severely damaged and was the likely injury that caused her death, Holloway said.

Investigators were able to conclude after the autopsy that the animal injuries caused the death and were not inflicted post-mortem, he said.

"She was bleeding as she was being moved, being drug, and the damage to the throat," Holloway said. "The medical examiner concluded that she wasn't killed by any other method and that the damage to the throat was severe. There were animal bite marks on the throat.

"Wolves, just like big cats, usually attack the wind pipe area and try to control the victim that way."

It appeared the attack was predatory, motivated by wolves wanting something to eat, he said.

Holloway said troopers and Fish and Game biologists were on their way to Chignik Lake today planning to capture or kill the responsible wolves. They believe at least two or three were involved, he said.

"We'll stay as long as we can to make sure the public feels as safe as we can make them feel living in Alaska," he said.

Berner, a 32-year-old special-education teacher based in Perryville, was found dead Monday evening by a group on snowmachines traveling along a road outside Chignik Lake.

Berner, originally from Slippery Rock, Pa., stood about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and was an athletic person, an avid runner, according to her family. Officials from the Lake and Peninsula School District said Berner, who was new to Chignik Lake, left work at the end of the day Monday to go for a run.

The snowmachiners came across the scene of her death a short time later. They reported seeing gloves in the road, blood and Berner's body having been dragged off the road down a hill. Parts of her body had been mangled, they said.

In the wake of the death, villagers began hunting for wolves in the area, which they say have been coming increasingly closer to town in search of food.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 18:26:33 MST Print View

I'll be extremely surprised if they prove this was a predatory attack by healthy wolves. It goes against everything we know about them through decades of research.

Brett Rasmussen
(ascientist) - MLife

Locale: Grants Pass, Oregon
Pepper spray on 03/11/2010 18:37:07 MST Print View

I wonder if a large can of pepper spray would be enough to make a pack of wolves give up and run away or if it would just hold them off and if so for how long. I hear that pepper spray works on all mammals, but I would assume it's not useful for stealthy predators like big cats because you would not have a chance to use it.

Edited by ascientist on 03/11/2010 18:38:27 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 18:49:30 MST Print View

>I'll be extremely surprised if they prove this was a predatory attack by healthy wolves. It goes against everything we know about them through decades of research.

But it is exactly their behavior thru centuries of actual experience. The whole idea of wolves has been sanitized in the name of political correctness. I feel for the woman's family.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 18:53:39 MST Print View

But it is exactly their behavior thru centuries of actual experience. The whole idea of wolves has been sanitized in the name of political correctness. I feel for the woman's family.

Hmm....there are tons of researchers who get paid to observe said behavior that completely disagree. If this does turn out to be true it'll be the first documented case of a healthy wolf attack on a human that was unprovoked. Over hundreds of years. It also goes against their typical predatory behavior of attacking only weak or old prey that won't put up much of a fight.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 19:03:27 MST Print View

But it is exactly their behavior thru centuries of actual experience. The whole idea of wolves has been sanitized in the name of political correctness. I feel for the woman's family.

Not true. Most of those "centuries of experience" stories have been proven to be incorrect. A great portion of research on wolf behavior has specifically focused on whether the stories were true or not. Read "Of Wolves and Men", by Barry Lopez and you'll get a very thoroughly researched and eye-opening account of the history of wolves and humans. Most of history's stories of wolf encounters were simply fear mongering.

Also, there would not have been much left of the woman if the attack had been predatory. Something's not right.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Bloody bites on 03/11/2010 19:18:06 MST Print View

Kinds looks like the medical examiner already proved it.

What other evidence would it take to convince you?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Bloody bites on 03/11/2010 19:22:46 MST Print View

Bloody bites doesn't mean a whole lot. They could be bites from a wolf, coyote, wild dog, domestic dog, etc, etc, etc. Per above, the woman died from ''multiple injuries due to animal mauling.'' The ME didn't even state it was canine in nature.

Edited by simplespirit on 03/11/2010 19:25:59 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 19:27:13 MST Print View

Geez, I'm not saying wolves shouldn't be here, or should be hunted to extinction. I'm just saying they're an apex predator, acting like apex predators do. And with an overabundance of food, it will just get worse, IMO. Bears, cougars, wolves, all thriving.

And google Kenton Carnegie.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 19:36:41 MST Print View

I googled Kenton Carnegie and found conflicting conclusions on whether it was wolves or a bear that killed him. There was also no mention of the wolves being healthy or sick. Disease causes all kinds of abnormal behavior. I won't discount a solid conclusion based on factual evidence but I have yet to see it.

Joseph Reeves
(Umnak)

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Wolf research on 03/11/2010 19:36:51 MST Print View

Wolf research is as politically tainted as any other, especially here in Alaska where we have convinced ourselves that the only way to control wolves is to shoot them from airplanes. With the loss of the ruff market they have proliferated, and there is no love lost on wolves in rural Alaska, especially by native Alaskans.

I've been impacted by the politics of wolf research when, having seen two wolves chase down a deer on Admiralty Island, I was told that there are no wolves on Admiralty -- a national monument -- by the Forest Service and that there are by the State Department of Fish and Game. Competing goals and competing conclusions.

"Bloody bites doesn't mean a whole lot. They could be bites from a wolf, coyote, wild dog, domestic dog, etc, etc, etc"

For those not aware of the AK State Troopers, there are two divisions, the one that helped in this investigation are the brown shirts or Wildlife Troopers. They know what they are looking at when it comes to predation. They also know the difference between a wolf track and a coyote track -- though I don't think there are any along the Peninsula.

I can assure you there won't be a wolf left within 100 miles of Chignik by the middle of next week.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Wolf research on 03/11/2010 19:39:32 MST Print View

What I find most disappointing is that we (being mankind) think we need to control every living thing as if we own it, when in reality we don't even on the land we live on.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 20:46:33 MST Print View

For some reason, I was just reading this short story.

Lobo the Wolf, King of the Currumpaw
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3031/3031-h/3031-h.htm

The PBS special was much better than the story.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Wolves kill teacher in Alaska" on 03/11/2010 20:47:15 MST Print View

I am very sad for the lady and her family.

[Section removed.]

I think a full scale investigation needs to be done. If it is true that the woman was killed by wolves and that they are wandering dangerously close to the town in search of food, rangers should enlist the help of local hunters to help eliminate a few. If it was a bear, it should be eliminated before it can cause anymore trouble. I agree that animals like this do not usually attack humans unless provoked. Obviously something was influencing the killer(s) to the point where this rule was overrun.

Evan: I understand and respect your faith, but this is a backpacking web site and I fear another flame war from this. Sorry, but I have had to exercise my discretion here. Yours are not the only postings to be edited.
Sorry.
Roger Caffin
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking Light

Edited by rcaffin on 03/11/2010 21:44:52 MST.

Joseph Reeves
(Umnak)

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Re: wolf research on 03/11/2010 20:48:20 MST Print View

"What I find most disappointing is that we (being mankind) think we need to control every living thing as if we own it..."

I agree with you on that point. There are too many people who believe they are supposed to be husbanding wildlife. Although I do think that without the controls we have on hunting and fishing -- at least here in Alaska -- there soon would be nothing left. As I said, there won't be a wolf alive near Chignik in a week.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 21:31:12 MST Print View

Evan, are you home schooled? I don't think wolves did this.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Wolves kill teacher in Alaska" on 03/11/2010 21:38:06 MST Print View

"Evan, are you home schooled? I don't think wolves did this.

Yes I am. But what does that have to do with our topic?

I did not say that wolves did it. But I did say that a full scale investigation should be preformed, and that if they did, rangers and hunters should think about the saftey of the community and reduce their numbers in a manner which will not kill them off, but stunt their progress so that they are not posing a threat to neighboring communities. wow that was a long sentence

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska on 03/11/2010 21:54:44 MST Print View

Evan: I understand and respect your faith, but this is a backpacking web site and I fear another flame war from this. Sorry, but I have had to exercise my discretion here. Yours are not the only postings to be edited.
Sorry.
Roger Caffin
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking Light


Sorry Roger. I was trying not to sound provocative in the reply to Evan that I made, but I guess when you emphasize what you believe it will necessary come off that way. Good move on the editing it out.

Pepe LP
(PepeLp) - F

Locale: New Mexico
Wolves on 03/11/2010 22:04:45 MST Print View

Man, I love you guys. People in Georgia and Japan, hotspots of wolf activity, are contesting the conclusions of wildlife officers on the scene. Keep on repeating the "wolves are our furry little buddies" line long enough, and maybe some people will believe it. Also, the idea that predators only kill the old and weak is complete BS.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Wolves kill teacher in Alaska" on 03/11/2010 22:05:14 MST Print View

Thank you for deleting a big part of my discussion. I believe the handling of the situation of the killing relates very much to a person's worldview and beliefs.

I in no way intended to start a flame war. Perhaps you should also delete the "carbon flame war" thread (if you haven't already - in which case if you are deleting my post because it had some of my religious beliefs in it, you should also delete almost every post in the "carbon flame war" thread. Does that topic also not have a ton to do with your worldview?)

Since my discussion has been censored despite the fact that it was respectful and that this is Chaff, I have decided to fully withdraw from this discussion. I hope none of you found my post which was censored nothing more than convicting and not insulting.

I will lurk and read each person's opinion with interest, but no more posts from me here.

Thank you! -Evan

Edited by edude on 03/11/2010 22:06:15 MST.