Tag Archives: Alaska

A strange photograph (2)

For years I have wondered if ordinary people in the United States ever take photographs while out hiking in the woods and then discover afterwards that there was a Bigfoot watching them, unnoticed in the trees. For a good few years therefore, I have been looking carefully at any photographs of the landscape in North America that I encounter, to see if there was any indication of a Bigfoot hiding away among the foliage.

I couldn’t actually find a picture to illustrate that on the Internet, not if I immediately excluded all hoaxes. The hoaxes are the sort of photograph where the person taking it suddenly announces “Look, I took this photo ten years ago and I’ve suddenly noticed a Bigfoot behind the trees. And your most likely response is

“OK, but where is he in relation to Uncle Frank in that ridiculous monkey suit?”

One or two are certainly on the borderline. Supposedly, Bigfoot will either crouch or even stand motionless, in an effort to be passed off as a tree stump. This photograph could be a Bigfoot, a strangely shaped dead tree, or it could be Uncle Frank, sober for the day. I just don’t know:

I don’t think that I have ever failed to look for that elusive 8 feet tall 500 pound individual every time I am presented with a picture of woodland or even of a distant mountainside. Talking of which, I believe that this photograph off the Internet shows Mount Denali. There is something anomalous in this picture:

Let’s move in a little closer. It’s on the horizon:

Third time lucky. It is either a very large man, a very large Bigfoot or a lump of rock that seems to be different to all of the other rocks. And, of course, given that this is Alaska and a well visited mountain, it could be that everybody except me knows all about “Uncle Frank the Rock Sentinel of Denali.” The problem is the scale. I just don’t know how large that apparent person would have to be to show up on a photograph taken at this distance:

My second picture comes from the Internet as well, and I don’t know where from, because I lost the address of the site:

Anyway, it shows just a relatively ordinary mountain scene. What drew my attention is a lot more obvious in this second version of the photograph, because it’s not as distant as in the previous pictures.

Here it is blown up a little:  
And a bit more:

I even changed it to grayscale because that kind of thing is frequently done by my Bigfooting hero, MK Davies:

 Whatever this is, it seems uniformly coloured and to have arms, legs and a head. Quite important, there is nothing like it close by. In size, it is not far short of being as tall as perhaps, half the width of the road, which seems to be a single vehicle dirt track. Eight feet? Nine feet?
One final point. Uncle Frank, if you’re still out there, just be careful what you’re doing. Not everybody will respond to seeing you hiding in the woods in a monkey suit with a big laugh and a bottle of beer, especially the ones exercising their rights under the Second Amendment.

 

As I said, I found these pictures on the Internet a long time ago but, as is often the case, I did not make a note of where they were from. If anybody is upset by my use of them, please make a comment to that effect and I will take them down if they so wish.

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Filed under Cryptozoology, Humour, Personal, Science, Wildlife and Nature

Wolves (2) How to fight them off

Recently, I wrote about how Candice Berner, a thirty two year old special education teacher was killed by wolves as she jogged along a road outside Chignik Lake, a remote village in south western Alaska. It was the first ever fatal wolf attack in Alaska where between 7,700-11,200 wolves are resident. There has only been one fatal attack in the rest of North America, where between 50,000-60,000 wolves are resident. This was a man who regularly fed the wolves near his campsite.

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Last time it emerged that Ms Berner’s slight, almost childlike build would have been attractive to the wolf. So too was the fact that she was out jogging. A running target always brings out the worst in any predator.

Her listening to music on a headset was thought by her father to be contributory, but was actually discounted because wolves are less noisy than the wind anyway.
A recent TV programme on Animal Planet also made one or two important points about this attack. They visited Chignik Lake and discovered that Ms Berner went running every day at the same time. This did not make it particularly difficult for any predator. The first thing every politician at risk of assassination is told is to vary their routine as much as possible. Ms Berner, they said, ran past the town dump, where both wolves and bears would routinely come to scavenge. As I said in a previous article, the local dump is a good way to habituate predators to humans. To show them how human scent equals food. If people take no notice of the predators’ presence, then they will gradually lose their innate fear of humans.

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The locals at Chignik Lake considered the dump too dangerous a place to go. Most significantly, the TV reporters found that Candice Berger was the only person in Chignik Lake ever to go jogging outside the town. The locals at Chignik Lake considered this activity far too dangerous, although their primary fear was that of bears, who can chase you at a steady 35 mph. Hard luck Usain Bolt, tootling along at a pathetic 27 mph. The bear population around Chignik Lake was very high.

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The road out of Chignik Lake ran along the side of a hill, and as it curved, Ms Berner’s tracks made a sharp U-turn. This was thought to be the point at which she first noticed the wolves. She was running westwards and the wind was blowing from the west so the wolves may have had her scent blown towards them for some considerable time. Presumably, after she had turned sharply away, this provoked a predatory response. Either one or two wolves chased her, while a third ran higher than the road and then swooped down to either knock her down or cause her to slip over. The place she fell had bloodstains with a second depression three or four yards away as she fell for the second time. She had fled about fifty yards from the place where she first apparently turned away from the wolves. She then tried to crawl away but the wolves dragged her down the slope. By now she was in a very bad way. She finally succumbed in a clearing ten yards from the road. The fight was a very brief one and she died quickly. Her body was then dragged thirty yards to an area of small bushes. Blood on the road led to the discovery of her body, and later that night a wolf returned to drag it a further twenty yards downhill.

Nine sets of wolf tracks were found but the Fish and Game Department said that only four or five wolves had been involved.

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The Fish and Game Department then culled eight wolves within thirty miles of the attack site. The DNA from one of these wolves was found on the young woman’s body, but a second wolf who left DNA was never found. As always seems to be the case, the evidence of three or four other lots of DNA was impossible to prove.
I have researched exactly what happened in some detail because this attack was, at this time at least, totally unique.
As we have seen, the townspeople seemed deeply worried about the attack, by a member, or members, of a protected species. The Director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance said that those who wanted to be allowed into the area around the town to kill all the wolves they could find were just:

“A lot of people who want to be macho and go out there and kill animals.”

Perhaps the last words should go to the poor young woman’s father:

“They were just doing what wolves do. Their nature happened to kill my daughter but I don’t have any anger towards wolves.”

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So what should you do? Well, the expert in my last article said that you should:

Never feed wolves

Don’t let them become habituated to humans (by leaving them a rubbish tip to visit, presumably)

If confronted by a wolf, don’t run

Face the animal, make yourself appear as large as possible

Yell

Wave your arms

Throws stones or other objects

Resist any attack

I would personally, if I were American, carry a revolver, one of those that Clint Eastwood carries, and learn how to use it for my own self defence:

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And if all else fails, I would try to climb a tree.
The Candice Berner case was notable as being the first fatal wolf attack in North America in which DNA evidence was gathered to confirm wolf involvement.

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