By Benjamin Cost
Citizens of Tengzhou no longer have to fear the big bad wolf…we think. Shandong police have gunned down a wolf suspected of attacking seven people in Tengzhou in under a week. Authorities allegedly encountered the wolf in a wheat field and shot it in the leg, prompting it to flee 20 km, before they caught up with the animal and finished the job.
The wolf in question was responsible for fatally biting two citizens – including an elderly woman – and injuring five others, one of whom was a boy walking to school.
Unfortunately, as of yet, police remain unsure if the dead wolf was the actual killer.
Nonetheless, the forestry department feels it was a job well done, stating, “the wolf is a provincial protected animal, but shooting it dead is justified and legal when it threatens local people and their property.”
They also claim the spring breeding season may have factored into the wolf attacks, as during this time, wolves roam large areas in search of food, which can lead them into contact with humans; a phenomenon that raises concerns over habitat encroachment.
We hope that this incident doesn’t evolve into a “collective punishment” scenario where police begin shooting wolves on sight out of fear inspired by the deeds of one rogue wolf – a phenomenon that pushed the gray wolf to the brink of extinction in the US during the mid-19th century.
In just about every country where wolves live, attacks on people are exceedingly rare unless the animal is injured or harbors a disease like rabies. No word yet on if the “rampaging” wolf was afflicted with either.