American camper injured in wolf attack
A WOLF attacked campers at Canada's Banff National Park and tried to drag an American tourist away before being driven off, national parks authorities say.
Parks Canada said this week that the attack by an older wolf in poor health occurred on August 9 at the Ramparts Creek campground north of Lake Louise in Alberta.
Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife specialist for the agency, said Thursday it was the first time such an incident had happened in a national park in Canada.
He said the New Jersey man was camping with his wife and two children and heard noises near his tent around midnight. Thinking it could be a bear, the man tried to scare the animal off by making noise, but when that didn't work, he poked the side of the tent and the wolf bit him through the tent.
Stuart-Smith said the wolf repeatedly bit the man, ripped the tent open and started to pull him out. A neighbouring camper heard the noise and ran over and kicked the wolf, which then fled, he said.
The man suffered hand and arm injuries and was hospitalised.
A Facebook post by the man's wife says "it was like something out of a horror movie."
Elisa Rispoli said her husband, Matthew Rispoli, threw himself in front of her and the children and fought the wolf as it tore apart the tent.
"I cannot and don't think I'll ever be able to properly describe the terror," she wrote.
Stuart-Smith said a wildlife officer found the wolf about a mile away from the campground and killed it when it started to approach him.
"The animal was in very poor health - it was very emaciated, it was only 35 kilograms, whereas an adult male wolf could be 68 kilograms or more," Stuart-Smith said.
He said the condition of the wolf could explain why it was aggressive.
"It was unable to take down larger prey and probably struggling to find food, and we think this is why it investigated the tent," Stuart-Smith said.