Attempted Predation of a Child by a Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, near Icy Bay, Alaska

Mark E. McNay, Philip W. Mooney


On 26 April 2000 a six-year-old boy was attacked and repeatedly bitten by a Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) in a logging camp near Icy Bay, Alaska. The animal’s behavior during the attack clearly contained elements of predation. The wolf was killed shortly after the attack and found to be in normal physical condition; tests for rabies and canine distemper were negative. Low densities of ungulate prey and increased energetic demands associated with denning may have influenced the wolf’s behavior, but we believe the wolf’s habituation to people was a more significant factor contributing to the attack. Food-conditioning may have facilitated the habituation process, but there was no evidence the attack resulted from a food-conditioned approach response.


Gray Wolf; Canis lupus; food conditioning; habituation; predation; wolf aggression; wolf attack; Alaska

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