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This article was published 28/7/2011 (2129 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Increasing reports of wolf sightings have a rural area on guard and a wolf encounter left one resident saddened by the loss of her dog.
Liz Ledarney, who lives in Tyndall, took her six dogs for a walk in the middle of the day on a nearby trail two months ago. She heard faint yipping sounds in the distance, which sent her dogs scurrying into the bush.
"I was thinking 'Oh no, there are coyotes there in the bush,' and meanwhile, I'm calling my dogs for them to get back to me," Ledarney said.
She chased her dogs and was met by what she thought was a large coyote.
"I'm screaming at it and waving my arms, thinking, 'What is wrong with you?' because all it did was stare at me," she said. "Then I thought, 'Why are you so big?' and I realized it was a wolf."
She called her dogs in a panic and they appeared from the bush as the wolf backed away. Once she was back on the trail she again heard the yipping, and her pets went into the wooded area a second time. Frightened, she stayed on the path, calling her dogs.
"I started hearing snapping, growling and all this commotion," she said. "Then they all came tumbling out of the bush onto my path and I saw my dogs and three wolves fighting."
The wolves eventually withdrew, but the attack killed one of her Pomeranians, three-year-old Ginger, and gave another puncture wounds in its belly.
Ledarney, 54, who has been living in the area for more than 15 years, said it was her first wolf encounter. She hasn't gone back to the trails where she often walked her dogs and went horseback riding in spring and summer.
"I've seen coyotes before and screamed and moved my arms around. That intimidates them and they trot away," she said. "These wolves did not. They were glaring at me, pacing, thinking about attacking."
She reported the incident to a conservation officer in Selkirk and said they only advised her to carry a gun.
Ron Alexander, a retired outfitter who heard about Ledarney's case, said provincial inaction is resulting in "out-of-control" coyote and wolf populations. He blames wolves for the lower moose population in parts of the province.
Len Turcotte, the RM of St. Clement animal control officer, said there are more cases each year of wolves roaming around farms to prey on livestock, which is cause for concern, but the situation is not out of control.
"We have had good winters, so wolves are having larger litters than they normally have," Turcotte said, adding they usually avoid humans.
Dean Berezanski, a fur-bearer biologist for Manitoba Conservation, said there were 171 observations of wolf activity reported in Manitoba in 2009-2010, compared to 230 the year before, adding it is "extremely rare" for wolves to attack humans.