Man in his 70s mauled by wolf in northern B.C. flown to Vancouver with 'significant injuries'

Conservation officials are hunting a lone wolf they believe attacked a man in his 70's in a front yard in northwestern B.C. late Friday.

Conservation Inspector Cam Schley said the man was attacked while walking home through a residential neighborhood in Port Edward at about 11 p.m.

The wolf attacked the man's lower body, leaving him with "significant injuries," said Schley.

Officials were able to interview the man from his hospital bed before an air ambulance flew him to the Lower Mainland Saturday afternoon.  

Dawn Villella/Associated Press

"It's our understanding that the man was sent to Vancouver for further medical treatment," the conservation officer said.

Officials don't believe the  man's injuries are life threatening. But the attack is alarming.

"This is very very rare. Wolf attacks on people in North America are extremely rare," Schley said.

He said its not yet clear what triggered the unprovoked attack. "That's a bit of a mystery ... we're trying to piece together."

On Sunday, Schley said officers were actively tracking the wolf and would continue their efforts through the night. But he said trying to capture wolves is very difficult, and neither traps nor dogs are effective. 

Schley said officials now believe the animal they're looking for is a lone wolf from the local area, unrelated to problem wolves in Prince Rupert, about 20 km away. 

In the last few weeks, people in Prince Rupert have reported multiple sightings of wolves, as well as several wolf attacks on cats and dogs. 

 "At least one of the wolves has lost a lot of fear of people, approaching to try to get dogs that are on leashes," said Schley. 

People in the area are being advised to walk in groups, if possible, and to be aware of their surroundings.

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