Wolves around Port Heiden, a small fishing village of about 85 people located about 400 miles from Anchorage, have become increasingly bold, coming into town, killing pets and showing none of their normal fear of humans, according to reports.
There was also a fatal wolf attack recently; a teacher was jogging alone in a nearby town when she was attacked and killed.
“If there hadn’t been a fatality on a human, we probably wouldn’t be getting the attention that we’re getting. I’m sure it lays heavy on people’s minds that it could happen,” said Scott Anderson, Port Heiden’s mayor.
“Hunger and overpopulation is likely driving the animals into the village and making them so aggressive,” Anderson said. “They’re just getting too many of them. There’s not enough food to go around for all of them.”
The mauling last March was only the second fatal attack on a person by a healthy wild wolf on record in North America, according to state wildlife officials. Most wolf-related deaths and serious injuries in North America have involved hybrids kept as pets, state officials said.
The states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have been pressing to lift federal protections of wolves, which ranchers see as threatening their livestock herds.
According to reuters.com, the state has, at times, conducted wolf-control operations to suppress numbers of the animals in the wild. However, those are controversial because their usual purpose is to boost moose and caribou populations for the benefit of sport hunters.