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Student's death confirmed as continent's first fatal wolf attack

Chris Purdy , CanWest News Service November 02, 2007

For more stories regarding Kenton Carnegie's death by wolves > http://wolfcrossing.org/2007/11/03/to-kentons-dad-and-mom-kim-and-lori-carnegie-thank-you-for-your-determination/

SASKATOON -- A coroner's inquest has found that Ontario student Kenton Carnegie was killed by a pack of wolves in northern Saskatchewan two years ago, making it the first documented case of fatal wolf attack in the wild in North America.

Carnegie's parents shook hands and hugged the six jurors, some who were crying Thursday after they delivered their verdict at a Prince Albert hotel.

The jurors sat through three days of testimony, looking at graphic photos and listening to disturbing details of how Carnegie was likely attacked and eaten.

"I was saying I was sorry to them for what we had to put them through," said Carengie's father, Kim, who is from Oshawa. "They were saying, 'No, don't worry.'"

Carnegie, a 22-year-old engineering student on a work term from the University of Waterloo, was last seen alive as he headed out for an afternoon hike from the Points North Landing supply depot on Nov. 8, 2005.

Points North Landing is about 850 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Two hours later, worried co-workers found the young man mauled to death in the bush, less than a kilometre from the work camp.

Although no one witnessed the attack, searchers and local officials heard wolves howling and saw their glowing eyes in the dark when they went to retrieve the body, which was surrounded by wolf tracks in the snow.

Bite marks from wolves were also identified on his remains.

But two animal experts debated during the inquest whether wolves or a bear had first attacked and killed Carnegie.

Paul Paquet, a carnivore expert in Saskatchewan, testified it was likely a black bear. He said the pattern of the attack and the feeding and dragging of the body was consistent with bear behaviour, not wolves.

Mark McNay, a retired wildlife specialist from Alaska, said he had no doubt that wolves killed Carnegie. No bear tracks were found near the body and no bear had been spotted in the area for at least a month. Most adult bears would also have been hibernating at the time.

Now that Carnegie's wolf-related death is official, his father said he hopes people will give up any notion that wolves are cute and cuddly wildlife.

"Now people will say, 'Well, what about Kenton Carnegie, the guy who died from a wolf attack?' " said Kim, sobbing and shaking.

"We wanted the truth to come out. We wanted the public to be aware."

As well as confirming that a wolves killed the student, the jury also made several recommendations that will be passed onto the Saskatchewan government, including the need to establish safety standards at garbage dumps where predatory animals like wolves and bears are found.


Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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