Wolf Identified in Campground Attack on Teen

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September 27, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

A wolf killed at Minnesota's Lake Winnibigoshish campground after an attack on a teenager was in fact the animal that bit the 16-year-old, officials said Thursday (Sept. 26). In-Forum reported that it was Minnesota’s first documented wolf attack on a human that resulted in significant injuries.

Noah Graham, 16, of Solway, was camping with friends at the West Winnie Campground when he was attacked and bitten by a wolf in the early hours of Aug. 24. The wolf bit down on Graham’s head, and he had to reach behind and pry the animal’s jaws from his head. Graham suffered a more than 4-inch-wide gash on his scalp that required 17 staples to close.

A wolf was trapped and killed Aug. 26 at the campground, but a necropsy and DNA testing were needed to confirm whether it was the animal that bit Graham. The campground was closed for about a week.

DNA testing done by forensic scientists at a University of California-Davis lab showed identical matches from the wolf’s DNA profile and the profile of samples from a comforter used when the teen was transported for treatment, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said in a release.

This week, the DNR received the final results of the necropsy, which was conducted by the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The necropsy listed a number of abnormal conditions that may have contributed to the wolf approaching and biting a human, which is not normal wolf behavior, the DNR said.

The wolf, estimated to be 1½ years old and weighing about 75 pounds, suffered from a severe facial deformity and dental abnormalities, according to Anibal G. Armien, the pathologist and veterinarian at the University of Minnesota who performed the necropsy.

The wolf also was suffering from brain damage, most likely caused by an infection, Armien said.

The wolf tested negative for rabies, as did Graham, who was tested immediately after the attack.

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