PREDATORS — A 16-year-old boy fought off a canine believed to be a wolf during an attack in northern Minnesota Saturday. If confirmed as a wolf, it could be the first reported physical attack by a wolf on a human in the lower 48 states.
Noah Graham of Solway was camping on Lake Winnibigoshish with friends last weekend, and was talking with his girlfriend just before the animal came out of nowhere and chomped the back of his head, according to the Associated Press.
Federal trappers on Monday trapped and killed a wolf they say could be the canine involved in the attack. That wolf had a jaw deformity that could have prompted rare bold behavior around humans, officials said.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say it could be the first documented serious-injury wolf attack on a human in Minnesota.
NEWS: The DNR announced today that it is premature to say with 100 percent confidence that the wolf is the one that inflicted the bites. That won’t be known – or may never be known - until DNA testing is complete.
However, on Wednesday the Minnesota Department of Health laboratory confirmed the wolf that had been trapped and killed Monday at the campground tested negative for rabies, although the boy already had been treated for the potentional of getting the disease.
The youth’s shirt (a potential source of wolf saliva DNA) and wolf muscle tissue have been sent to a laboratory at the University of California – Davis for forensic analysis. The analysis expected to take several weeks. The DNR will release the results when they are available.
Only two cases of fatal wolf attacks have been documented in North America, one in Alaska and the other in Canada, according to the DNR and a review of scientific literature.
Read on for more details on the attack from an AP report: