From the dining hall, it sounded like a fight — a midnight scuffle between feuding workers at the Cigar Lake uranium mine.
A security guard hopped into her vehicle to break it up, and for a split second, her headlights illuminated a scene that was anything but a fist fight: a wolf with its jaws around the neck of a 26-year-old kitchen worker. The truck’s arrival spooked the wolf away and the security guard, who has declined media interviews, sprang out to provide first aid.
An adult gray wolf can easily bite through even the thickest moose bones; a fleshy human neck provides little obstacle. A few more seconds and the worker likely would have been dead instead of recuperating in hospital. “A single wolf basically pounced on him,” was what a mine representative told the press.
Wolf attacks aren’t supposed to happen this way, but wolves don’t exactly act as expected in Northern Saskatchewan.On the very rare occasion that a North American wolf bites a human, the animal is usually rabid or surprised; a hiker startling a wolf feeding on a moose carcass, for instance.
But this wolf had apparently lain in wait for the young mining camp worker.
“The whole incident is unusual; very unusual,” said Paul Paquet, a renowned mammalian biologist who works with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and is also providing wolf consultation for Cameco, the owners of the Cigar Lake mine.
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