Kenton Joel Carnegie wolf attack
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|Kenton Joel Carnegie|
11 February 1983|
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
|Died||8 November 2005
Points North Landing, Saskatchewan, Canada
Cause of death
|Killed by grey wolves or an American black bear|
Kenton Joel Carnegie (11 February 1983 – 8 November 2005) was a Canadian geological engineering student. A judicial inquest carried out by the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan in 2007 concluded that he was killed by wolves on 8 November 2005 at Points North Landing, Saskatchewan, Canada. The conclusion of the official inquest drew later criticism because previous and more authoritative investigations disagreed with the inquest's findings. The unresolved matter of how Carnegie died is the subject of ongoing controversy.
Although there were no eyewitnesses to the attack, there had been several previous incidents in the region of wolves and black bears acting aggressively toward people. The official investigation initiated by the Chief Coroner of Saskatchewan was carried out by carnivore biologist Dr. Paul Paquet and Royal Canadian Mounted Police forensic anthropologist Dr. Ernest Walker, who concluded that Carnegie died as the result of a violent predatory attack, either by wolves (Canis lupus) or an American black bear (Ursus americanus). Bear expert Dr. Stephen Herrero came to the same conclusion, although Herrero believed the responsible predator was likely a black bear. An independent investigation by the National Geographic Society (NGS), led by animal behaviorist Dr. Jane Packard and forensic anthropologist Dr. Gary Haynes, concurred with the equivocal results of the official investigation. Similarly, bear specialist Wayne McRory concluded that a black bear was the probable predator after reviewing the physical evidence. Later, private investigations conducted on behalf of the Carnegie family by ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist, and wildlife biologist Mark McNay strengthened the case for the wolf theory. The conclusions of a third investigation commissioned by the Carnegie family and conducted by wildlife biologist Dr. Brent Patterson were equivocal, although Patterson believed wolves were most likely responsible. Among the various investigators, only Paquet and Haynes visited and carried out an onsite assessment of the accident scene.
Prior events in Saskatchewan
Before Carnegie's death, there had been several incidents in Saskatchewan of wolves acting aggressively toward people. Additionally, more than 300 occurrences of black bears behaving aggressively toward humans have been documented in the Province, including three fatal attacks.
During the late summer and autumn months of 2005, the Points North dumpsite was commonly frequented by several black bears and a pack of four wolves, which were occasionally spotted along the airstrip adjacent to the camp. According to testimony from a camp worker, the wolves at the dump frequently disregarded his presence and would adjust their arrival with that of the front-end loader, tearing into the garbage bags the moment they hit the ground. This behavior suggests the wolves were uninhibited by the presence of people or loud machinery. On 4 November 2005, Todd Svarckopf and Chris Van Galder, who were stationed at the Points North camp near Wollaston Lake, decided to walk out to a nearby junkyard to look at abandoned aircraft. While passing through a forested area, the two were approached by a dark wolf only a few hundred metres from the camp compound. The two men attempted to walk back to the camp but the wolf walked directly up to Svarckopf, who yelled at it. The animal retreated a few steps but pressed forward as the men walked away, closely followed by a lighter coloured wolf. The dark wolf moved directly toward Chris and did not retreat when he yelled at it. When Svarckopf turned around to face Van Galder, the lighter coloured wolf advanced toward his back, retreating only when Svarckopf turned to face it. The two armed themselves with spruce sticks and kept the wolves at bay with swinging motions. The two men moved toward the edge of the brush line along the runway, with the wolves following but keeping out of reach of the sticks. The wolves positioned themselves between the men and the runway, in what was described as an apparent attempt to herd them back into the heavier cover. The two men moved out of the forest and onto an open runway, with the wolves still following them as they headed back to camp. The wolves were kept at bay with the sticks and only left when the two arrived at the camp compound. Several photos were taken by Van Galder near the end of the encounter. The entire incident lasted 10–15 minutes.
Svarckopf and Van Galder did not volunteer information to the RCMP investigator about their encounter with wolves, nor did they provide images of the encounter. This unusual behavior raised suspicions among investigators and brought into question the credibility of the two individuals. To add to the confusion, media versions of the event and hearsay reports from Points North employees offered several different and conflicting descriptions of the encounter.
Eventually, investigators Paquet and Walker asked the RCMP Major Crimes Unit to find Svarckopf and Van Galder and obtain statements. Van Galder never did provide a statement but 4 months after Carnegie was killed Svarckopf was interviewed by the RCMP. He reported that the wolves never growled or barked as wolves defending territory sometimes do, but snapped their teeth and jaws. Notably, this behavior is rarely displayed by wolves and is known to occur only when wolves are threatened and under extreme stress or possible attack. Additionally, Svarckopf claimed that he and Van Galder tried to warn their co-workers (including Kenton Carnegie) at the camp about the wolves, but were humorously accused of teasing the animals. Their story, however, was not corroborated by co-workers who claimed Svarckopf and Van Galder told them several different versions of what had occurred.
Disappearance and subsequent discovery
Carnegie was on his fall co-op term in his third year of geological engineering at the University of Waterloo. He and a colleague were in the Athabasca basin performing airborne surveying work for Ottawa-based Sander Geophysics. A few days before his death, Carnegie wanted to go for a walk, but according to official statements made to RCMP by Svarckopf, Svarckopf and Van Galder told him of their encounter a few days prior and claimed to have "implored" him not to go. The Carnegie family, however, questions this claim, maintaining that permission was given by Chris Van Galder.
“I will tell you that our family still does not know how much information Kenton was given about the previous weeks wolf attack. Kenton asked and received approval from his supervisor (Chris) to go for that last walk alone. Kenton was not a risk taker, had plans for his future and never would have taken that walk if he realized any potential danger.” Kim Carnegie, 2008
Despite the alleged warnings, on 8 November at roughly 15:30, Carnegie went for a walk alone, stating that he would return by 17:00. At 19:00, he had not returned, and Van Galder and Svarckopf called Mark Eikel, part owner of the Points North camp to assist them in their search. After scouring the camp, the trio noticed Carnegie's tracks leading outside the camp and followed them to the lake shore. The men noticed wolf tracks on the shore and returned to the camp to get a rifle before continuing their search. Carnegie's body was found soon after by Eikel outside the campgrounds, 35 miles northwest of Wollaston Lake. Using a flashlight, Eikel viewed the body from about 10 m (32 ft). He made no attempt to determine if Carnegie was alive or how he had been injured. Together with Svarckopf and Van Galder, who did not see the body, he retreated to Points North to notify the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Wollaston Lake of their discovery, informing police that Carnegie had been killed by wolves. The message that a person had been killed by wolves at Points North Camp was then forwarded to RCMP Constable Noey and local Coroner Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth. Meanwhile, Eikel and Points North employee Bob Burseth (Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth's husband) returned to the site about 40 minutes later to find the mutilated body and confirm that Carnegie was dead. Upon arriving at the scene three hours later, RCMP constable Noey saw from a distance of 30–40 metres the reflection of two sets of eyes, which he assumed were wolves because of wolf tracks seen earlier and because he had been told he was retrieving the body of a person killed by wolves. Notably, however, no wolves were ever observed at the scene of the accident as confirmed by Noey in the following quotes.
"And I was the first guy…I was the first man going into the scene. We’re all single file walking and…and being there’s still wolves in there—we…we thought there’s still wolves in the area—so I had my flashlight and my uh, my shotgun and I was panning the uh—like it’s…it’s pitch black. You can’t see nothing. It’s…it’s like, you’re in the north, there’s no…there’s no lights of, artificial light of any kind. So I had my flashlight panning back and forth. And there’s a lake on one uh, one side there’s a narrow trail and then to the other side there’s a muskeg. So I was walking along the trail and I was panning back and forth and when I panned back toward the muskeg you can see two sets of eyes looking at you. That was about maybe 20, no about 30, between 30 and 50 metres away we figure. I’m estimating and then from there the only thing I could do was just discharge my rifle in the air or my shotgun in the air just to scare the uh, animals away. I couldn’t tell what it was, but we assumed it was wolves by what the tracks we’ve seen earlier." 
National Geographic transcribed tape interview 5506 with Constable Alphonse Noey
“Well, I didn’t never actually seen the wolves, but we were assuming it was wolves with the…with the tracks we seen. Uh, it was kind of uh, I would say scary ‘cause you can hear them and you can hear them uh, maybe—I don’t know how far away—but you can hear them in the bush running around.”
National Geographic transcribed tape interview 5506 with Constable Alphonse Noey
Many months after the accident, Coroner Tsannie-Burseth reported that during the recovery of the body, wolf howls were frequently heard in the vicinity. Her husband, Bob Burseth, who was also present, felt confident that they were within 400 metres of the kill site. However, in the official police statements recorded at the time of the accident, none of the witnesses, Coroner Tsannie-Burseth, or Constable Noey remembered hearing wolves vocalizing in any manner. Noey thought he might have heard wolves moving in the bushes but was not sure. Tsannie-Burseth stated that she could "feel" the presence of wolves but had heard nothing. To dissuade the animals from approaching, the search party built a fire and periodically fired shots into the air during the body recovery.
Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth, the province’s local coroner who had arranged the removal of Carnegie's body, gave a hypothetical reconstruction of what happened. Her reconstruction was based on tracks of people and animals she observed near the site of the attack the day after the event occurred. She speculated that Carnegie had walked from the camp and by the time he was a kilometre away near a frozen lake, a wolf began following his tracks. Boot prints in the snow showed that Carnegie quickened his pace, as two more wolves approached him from the sides. The first apparent struggle occurred 2.2 metres (7 ft) from where the chase began. Four more scuffle sites were found leading to where his body was discovered. Tsannie-Burseth believed that Carnegie probably fought hard before finally succumbing.
National Geographic's Investigation
In spring 2006, National Geographic Channel examined Carnegie's death in an hour-long episode of Hunter Hunted entitled Shadow Stalkers. The credits acknowledge Coroner Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth, Constable Alphonse Noey, Dr. Paul Paquet, Dr. S. Herrero, and Tim Trottier of SERM (Saskatchewan Environment Resource Management). Wollaston Lake Coroner Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth and RCMP Constable Alphonse Noey are featured prominently in the documentary, providing commentary and personal insights concerning details of the accident. Animal behaviorist and wolf specialist Dr. Jane Packard, who assisted in the National Geographic investigation, reviewed the images taken by Todd Svarckopf and Chris Van Galder during their 4 November encounter with the wolves at Points North. Based on well understood wolf behaviors evident in the images, she speculated that Svarckopf and Van Galder had provoked the wolves. Notably, workers at Points North Camp had accused Svarckopf and Van Galder of "teasing" the wolves they encountered. She thought that negative experience might have caused the wolves to behave aggressively toward humans in future encounters. Renowned forensic anthropologist Dr. Gary Haynes conducted an onsite investigation of the accident site, interviewed key witnesses, and examined the images of Carnegie's body and tracks taken at the site by Constable Noey. The images were provided to National Geographic by the RCMP. Working together, Packard and Haynes concluded that Carnegie was killed by either wolves or a black bear, and that both might have fed on his body. Finally, the National Geographic investigation emphasized that the mix of uncertain circumstantial evidence implicated both wolves and bears, precluding the possibility of a definitive conclusion as to which predator was responsible for Carnegie's death.
The RCMP determined that Kenton Carnegie's death was not the result of a homicide. This was important because Carnegie's parents had initially raised concerns that their son had been murdered. The family claimed their son's relationships with colleagues from Sander Geophysics (Chris Van Galder and Todd Svarckopf) at Points North Camp were very strained and tense. The official Government of Saskatchewan investigation was headed by internationally renowned carnivore biologist and behavioral ecologist Dr. Paul Paquet and RCMP forensic anthropologist Dr. Ernest Walker, who oversaw Carnegie's autopsy, which was performed by Dr. N. Brits in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Brits stated that Carnegie's injuries were consistent with those expected in a predatory animal attack. Paquet and Walker concluded that the only likely candidates were wolves and American black bears, as grizzly bears, cougars and free ranging dogs were not known to frequent the Points North area. The report, however, was equivocal as to which predator was responsible, noting that most of the evidence, all of which was circumstantial, was unavoidably confounded by search and recovery efforts. In addition, the report contended that a very poor primary assessment of the accident scene by an inexperienced police constable and local coroner further compromised the quality and reliability of the evidence. Included among the criticisms were investigative bias resulting from preconditioned expectations of a "wolf attack" at Points North, failure to secure the accident scene from intrusion of people and wildlife, a 20-hour delay in carrying out the site assessment during which time at least three wolves visited the site, failure to cast impressions of footwear so that tracks of searchers and investigators could be distinguished from those of the victim, failure to annotate digital images taken on the accident scene, and serious discrepancies in important details of the official police report. These unresolvable problems were compounded by changing stories from key witnesses, RCMP investigator Constable Noey, and local coroner Tsannie concerning important and significant aspects of events that occurred before, after, and during the accident.
"Lacking an eyewitness account, all we know for certain is that Carnegie's body was found on a lakeside trail near Points North Landing, a northern outpost with an airstrip. A large predator had scavenged him. We conclude from circumstantial evidence that Carnegie’s death was not a homicide as no indications of foul play were found at the scene of the accident. Moreover, we concur with the autopsy and forensic reports, which state unequivocally that no other signs, injuries, or cause of death, were observed other then [sic] those consistent with an animal attack. The type of wounds and feeding pattern confirm predation as the probable cause of death. Most likely, Carnegie was surprised by a violent predacious assault and sustained fatal wounds at an early stage during the attack. Although strong circumstantial evidence supports the determination of predation as the cause of death, it is inconclusive regarding the responsible predator. From all available information, Carnegie was the unfortunate victim of a haphazard accident."
Paquet & Walker 2006
Two wolves from the area were killed about 56 hours after the accident by investigating conservation officers and taken for examination to the University of Saskatchewan. The digestive systems of both wolves were empty, except for a few small residual items. One of the wolves, a black and white 48 kg (106 lb) male, estimated to be 4–5 years of age, was found to have undigested plasticised fabric, small black hairs, and what appeared to be connective tissue within its colon and rectum, though lab analyses showed the latter to be vegetable matter. Microscopic examination suggested that the recovered hair was possibly human in origin. However, DNA analysis by the RCMP forensic lab rejected that assessment. Given the high quality and excellent condition of the tissue samples (hairs complete with roots), the RCMP concluded the hairs were not of human origin. The lab tested only for human DNA, so the complete absence of DNA is strong evidence that the sample was not human. Accordingly, no human remains were found in the digestive systems of the wolves thought to have killed and fed on Carnegie.
There was no indication of rabies, nor was there any morphological indication suggesting it was a wolf-dog hybrid. The animal was described in the necropsy report as being very fat, well muscled and in excellent nutritional condition. Paquet later stated that "these were the healthiest wolves I've ever seen." Although he noted that "no definitive animal sign was evident in any of the images taken the night of the accident", he noted that wolf, fox, and bear tracks were visible on the photos taken the following day of the surrounding area. The tracks were identified by noted wildlife experts Dr. L. David Mech, Dr. Vince Crichton, Tim Trottier, Dr. Michael Gibeau, and Wayne McRory. These images,taken 20–22 hours after the attack occurred, also showed unidientified shoe prints of several people. Paquet and Walker stated that the body had been dragged 50–60 metres as reported by RCMP Constable Noey, Burseth, and Eikel, as well as physically measured by Paquet at the scene. This suggested but did not confirm a black bear culprit, as black bears often drag their prey away from the initial kill and feeding site, especially following disturbances by people. In Paquet's own extensive experience and that of other wolf biologists, wolves are virtually unknown to drag larger prey (i.e. more than 40 kg) more than a few metres.
"With natural prey, dragging of large bodies is a characteristic behaviour of bears but not wolves. Wolves commonly carry small prey (5 – 15 kg) such as deer fawns (Odocoileus sp.) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus) calves away from the site of attack before killing them (pers. observation). Likewise, in India small children preyed on by wolves are often carried away from the attack site (Rajpurohit 1999, Jhala pers. comm.) Two or more wolves are certainly capable of dragging a 70 kg body more than 50 m. In our experience, however, when more than 1 wolf is involved in a kill of a large bodied animal (>40 kg), dragging is seldom directionally coordinated because individual wolves usually tug from different directions. From our records of more than 1,500 deer, elk (Cervus elaphus), moose, and caribou killed by wolves, dragging the carcass more than 10 m occurred less than 1% of the time. The longest straight-line drag distance recorded was about 32 m, and this was a deer carcass placed on a frozen lake as bait. In comparison, nearly all of the 119 bear kills of elk and moose we investigated showed signs of dragging, although distances were more difficult to determine because of the absence of snow. Nevertheless, bears moved many carcasses more than 50 m. U.S. Fish and Wildlife records of large carnivores dragging carcasses support our observations. Of 300 recorded kills, in only 4 cases did wolves drag ungulate carcasses in the snow more than 10 m. All the bear kills located were dragged some distance (> 30 m) away from where the initial fatal attack occurred (M. Jimenez and E. Bangs pers. comm.). Based on examination of 2,173 wolf kills in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, dragging of carcasses was an extremely rare phenomenon and never exceeded 15 m (D. Smith pers. comm.).
— Review of Investigative Findings Relating to the Death of Kenton Carnegie at Points North, Saskatchewan by Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, and Dr. Ernest G. Walker, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 8 August 2008"
Paquet and Walker also pointed to the fact that Carnegie's heart, lungs and liver were intact, stating that in Paquet's experience and that of other wolf experts, wolves usually eat those organs and surrounding fat first. Moreover, the stomach, intestines, and kidneys were consumed first, which Paquet stated is unusual for wolves consuming wild prey. Consumption of these organs, however, is consistent with documented descriptions of black bears feeding on humans, especially victims who had recently consumed a meal. Notably, Carnegie ate lunch just before leaving on his walk. Paquet and Walker noted, however, that due to the scarcity of documented wolf attacks in North America, it would be difficult to discern what a wolf attack would look like. Mark McNay agreed.
““Any remaining arguments about specific patterns of feeding, body position, clothing removal, and wounds will likely not be resolved because the patterns of wolves killing and feeding on humans as live prey are undocumented, and because even with natural prey the patterns related to those factors overlap between wolves and bears..”
— "A Review of Evidence and Findings Related to the Death of Kenton Carnegie on 8 November 2005 Near Points North, Saskatchewan" by Mark E. McNay, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fairbanks, Alaska, 25 May 2007
This point of agreement is of profound significance because it confirms that interpretation of the circumstantial evidence found at the scene is fraught with irresolvable uncertainty. In this regard, Patterson commented that "... based on the material I did see it seemed less plausible that a bear was responsible than wolves, but I acknowledge that barring an actual eyewitness account a definitive answer will remain elusive."
Similarly equivosal, but favoring the bear theory, bear specialist Wayne McRory concluded that a black bear was the probable predator after reviewing the physical evidence. Paquet's telephone consultations with bear expert Dr. Stephen Herrero came to the same conclusion: Herrero believed the responsible predator was likely a black bear.
Paul Paquet was quoted in an issue of the National Wildlife magazine;
“The clothes and skin been stripped away, indicating the so-called banana-peel eating technique common to bears”
— Dr. Paul Paquet, Sexy Beasts from National Wildlife Feb/Mar 2007, vol. 45 no. 2
The time of day of the attack was also claimed to be consistent with documented bear predation on humans;
“From a temporal perspective, fatal bear attacks often occur in the late afternoon and in the fall before denning. No similar pattern of attacks have been shown for wolves.”
— Review of Investigative Findings Relating to the Death of Kenton Carnegie at Points North, Saskatchewan by Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, and Dr. Ernest G. Walker, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 8 August 2008
Paquet and Walker also identified claw marks on the body, something inconsistent with wolves, which attack with their teeth. The claw marks were clearly distinguishable because the corresponding marks of lower and upper jaws that characterize bite wounds were absent from the body. Based on examination of bite impressions from 100 adult wolves and 100 adult black bears, Paquet and Walker concluded that it was difficult to reliably differentiate the bite marks of wolves and bears, as the canine teeth of adult wolves can leave near identical marks to those of similarly sized black bears. In addition, only 2 bite marks were clearly discernible on the body. Both were post- or peri-mortem and the canine teeth did not penetrate the skin. There were no impressions of pre-molars, which are characteristic of wounds caused by wolves In their report, Paquet and Walker stated that based on well described wolf behaviours (body postures, position of the lips, position of the ears, position of the tail), the 3 wolves shown in the photographs taken by Chris Van Galder were either relaxed or behaving defensively in response to a provocation by Svarckopf. Further, Svarckopf is shown relaxed and laughing in one of the images. Paquet questioned the reliability of interviews with the local constable and coroner, as well as members of the search party, due to numerous incongruities and his awareness that eyewitnesses were "notoriously unreliable". Accordingly, inconsistencies, contradictions, and changing witness and investigator statements on critical points of evidence raised concerns about the credibility and reliability of the investigators and witnesses. Paquet and Walker's report listed 14 biologists who were consulted, including well known wolf and bear biologists in North America and Europe, though it did not identify who examined the available evidence. The investigative report by Paquet and Walker was met with criticism by the Carnegie family and their representatives. Todd Svarckopf, Chris Van Galder, Mark Eikel and Bob Burseth, who were the first four witnesses, saw the scene before it was disturbed by repeat visits by themselves and later visits from the coroner, two game wardens and the RCMP. According to Geist, all the witnesses stated in private interviews that the animals they saw on the scene, as well as the tracks in the snow, were wolves. However, Geist's claim is contradicted by the official police interviews. None of the witnesses remembered seeing any animals at the scene, although all witnesses reported observing wolf tracks. Bob Burseth, an employee of Points North Camp and a hunter who was frequently involved in tracking and killing of aggressive problem bears near Points North, confirmed that had bears been in the area, he would have known. He also stated that he knew the differences between bear and wolf tracks, and was adamant that on that night he saw only wolf prints. Burseth's wife, aboriginal Coroner Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth Aboriginal, found no bear tracks and stated there were only wolf tracks. However, contrary to claims in McNay's report, neither Bob Burseth or Rosalie Tsannie-Ruseth identified fox tracks at the scene, although fox tracks were clearly evident in the images taken at the accident scene by Constable Noey. This failure to notice what were clear and obvious tracks raised serious concerns for government investigators about the reliability of Burseth's and Tsannie-Burseth's other observations. Constable Noey, an RCMP officer, originally claimed that some wolf prints were placed directly within Carnegie's prints, a behaviour some incorrectly believe is associated with wolves stalking prey. However, when queried by RCMP investigators from Major Crimes, he changed his story to say he was not certain that was the case. Conservation Officers Kelly Crayne and Mario Gaudet, who investigated the accident site two days after the event and several snowfalls, wrote in their report "Officers investigated the site and found numerous wolf tracks in the area. No other large animal tracks could be found."
Bears had not been sighted at Points North Camp for over a month, as the death occurred during what some suggest is their annual hibernation cycle. Nonetheless, there were many confirmed sightings of black bears in the region throughout October and early November, including nearby Cigar Lake Mine and Rabbit Lake Mine. The Fall of 2005 was the second warmest on record and temperature influences the time of denning. In addition, aggressive and garbage-conditioned bears were a chronic problem at Points North Camp during September and early October, as well as previous years. Accordingly, McNay states that a problem bear was killed near the Points North Camp kitchen in September 2005, although SERM issued no permit to kill a bear, which is a legal requirement in the Province of Saskatchewan. In addition, the claimed killing of an aggressive problem black bear was never reported to SERM, so the fate of the animal(s)is unknown.
Dissatisfied with the government inquiry, Carnegie's family began spending scarce funds for an independent investigation and hired Harold Johnson, an aboriginal lawyer and tracker. Upon investigating the case, Johnson concluded that wolves were the culprits.
After reading Paquet's report in August 2006, Carnegie's family approached Ontario Government wildlife expert Brent Patterson, to assess the evidence given by Paquet and Walker pointing to a bear culprit. Although Patterson corresponded with Paquet, and was initially convinced by his findings, he softened his views upon examining photographs and reports. Upon looking at the photograph showing what Patterson assumed were the bear tracks indicated by Paquet, Patterson noted that the snow in which they occurred was heavily slushed, and that a clear wolf print was present on a nearby rock, following the travel direction of the tracks. This suggested they were made by the same animal, although he was uncertain because of his inexperience in track identification.
"Although it is difficult for me to say whether the tracks bounding through the slush were left by a wolf or bear, I see no reason to conclude they were left by a bear rather than a wolf. However, the most important feature of this photograph is found in the lower left corner. There is a clear wolf print on a rock in the foreground of the lower left corner and following the direction of travel of this track suggest that the animal that left it is the same one that made the bounding tracks through the slush. If so, then the animal bounding through the slush was a wolf. However, note that someone with more expertise in identifying bear tracks than me is required to make a definitive judgement regarding these tracks in the slush."
— Re: Review of evidence pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie, Brent Patterson, Trent University, Wildlife Research & Development Section
Regarding the body's lack of disarticulation, Patterson stated that such a process only occurs after wolves have eaten all available soft tissues, which had yet to occur with Carnegie. This observation was consistent with Paquet and Walker's determination that most soft tissue had not been consumed, but contradicted claims by NcNay and Geist that nearly all soft tissue had been removed. Patterson also noted that lacerations on Carnegie's right forearm had flesh pulled out of them. Patterson wrote that this damage was likely caused by the canine teeth of a wolf, feeding on or dragging the body. However, Paquet and Walker determined the wound was caused by claws because there were no corresponding wounds from upper and lower jaws, which would be expected if jaws had been clamped around the arm so the body could be dragged. Patterson found that the drag distance of the body reported by Paquet was inconsistent with that reported by Constable Noey, who noted on a diagram of the accident scene that the body had been dragged only 20 metres. Noey, however, stated in his official narrative report cited and reviewed by Patterson, McNay, and Geist that the body was dragged about 50 m, which was consistent with the observation of other eyewitnesses. Further, the straight line distance as measured by a surveyors tape at the accident site was 52 metres.
" . . . the body was dragged another 50 metre through the muskeg to where member 1st seen the body . . . " RCMP Constable Noey
Nevertheless, Patterson questioned the reliability of witness Bob Burseth who claimed the body was dragged more than 50 m, suggesting darkness and duress affected his judgment.
"“I did find it odd that wolves would drag Kenton’s body as far as reported by Paquet and Walker (50-60 m) apparently through some fairly thick brush. In looking at the source documents I note that although Bob Burseth reported the body was drug (sic) 50-60 yards between their first discovery of Carnegie’s body at approximately 19:00 and when he returned approximately 3 hours later with Cst. Noey and Coroner Tsannie-Burseth This estimation was made based on observations made in conditions of “extreme darkness” (Paquet and Walker 2006: page 13) and under the duress of recently have discovered the body of a deceased colleague. Cst. Noey’s hand-drawn map of incident scene (document # 3 cited above) indicates that the body was actually drug about 20 m. Nonetheless, it may seem unusual for wolves, and typical for bears, to drag the carcass of a prey animal.”
— Re: Review of evidence pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie, Brent Patterson, Trent University, Wildlife Research & Development Section
Among the photographed injuries present on the body, Patterson noted a bite mark on the right side of Carnegie’s right calf/ shin which he stated was consistent with the wolf bite marks he and his research team commonly observed on ungulate prey carcasses. Paquet and Walker identified the mark as occurring post mortem and indistinguishable from those left by black bears.
He also found that contrary to what Paquet said via telephone regarding the breaking of Carnegie's belt, there was no evidence of a belt on the photographs taken by the RCMP, nor was a belt mentioned in the personal effects list of the victim's necropsy report. However, primary witness Bob Burseth clearly stated in his official statement to the RCMP that he saw a belt when he first observed Carnegie's body. Patterson wrote that Carnegie was wearing lined nylon trousers, which he claimed do not have belt loops. In fact, Carnegie was wearing jeans with overpants. Although Patterson could not rule out the possibility that Kenton’s pants were peeled off first and then later snagged on the stump during dragging, he concluded that the removal of Carnegie's trousers, rather than being the deliberate act of a bear, could have occurred entirely due to wolves dragging his body and getting them caught on the tree stump. However, photographs of the body taken at the scene of the accident showed clearly this was not what happened. He saw no other evidence of clothing having been "peeled" off rather than simply ripped or torn during feeding.
Criticism was also launched at the list of cited experts ostensibly included in the Paquet and Walker report. According to Patterson, the list failed to specify which expert actually examined the evidence. This was an unfounded criticism, however, because the Paquet & Walker report did not include a list of experts cited. Nevertheless, Patterson stated that he became suspicious when he contacted carnivore biologist Maria de Almeida of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, who he believed had been cited in Paquet's report as an expert. But de Almeida confirmed that contrary to Patterson's assertion she had not been listed as an expert. In her communication with Patterson, she stated;
“Paul has clarified that I was mentioned in the Coroner's report because there was a commitment to reference in the coroner's report any discussion that investigators had on the case with individuals as personal communication. Somehow ”personal communication" became "consultant" in the final report. I was included because when I spoke to Paul about public education in the spring, he mentioned to me that there was evidence of the victim's clothes having been rolled back and I discussed with him some of the bear fatalities in Ontario. I was not asked to review any evidence related to the case.”
— Maria de Almeida of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Re: Review of evidence pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie, Brent Patterson, Trent University, Wildlife Research & Development Section
Working under a suggestion by Patterson, Carnegie's family later approached wolf biologist Mark McNay on 18 January 2007, who at the time, worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Three years prior, McNay studied 80 events in Alaska and Canada where wolves closely approached or attacked people, finding 39 cases of aggression by apparently healthy wolves, and 29 cases of fearless behavior by non-aggressive wolves. After examining photographs of Carnegie's body and the area around it, McNay concluded that the argument in favour of a bear culprit was weak. He argued, incorrectly, in his report that black bears at the time would have been hibernating 12 days before the attack occurred. In addition, even if a bear was still active, an ample food supply would have been available from the nearby landfill 2 km from the kill site. Regardless, none of the camp employees saw bears or bear tracks, either the month before or after the attack occurred. He countered the purported claim by Paquet and Walker that no pattern has been documented of "fatal wolf attacks" on humans in the evening or the autumn season by noting that wolf attacks had been documented in Ontario and Alaska during the late summer/autumn season and evening hours. However, Paquet and Walker responded by noting that McNay had mistakenly attributed a claim to them they never made. Further, they noted the attacks referred to by McNay were not fatal and were atypical of documented incidences. McNay also cited examples from Hazaribagh, India, in which children were recorded to have been attacked at dusk. After finding out about the dump site near the camp, and hearing the testimony of camp workers that wolves would consume garbage in full view of people, McNay read Todd Svarckopf's testimony on the non-lethal wolf encounter four days before Carnegie's death. He concluded that the behaviour of the wolves was consistent with food-conditioned animals that had been fed, and expected a food reward. He argued that the wolves would have trotted away if they had felt fearful or threatened. In contrast, the behaviour of one of the wolves described in the testimony and shown in the photographs was indicative of a wolf in an aroused state and capable of an attack. After looking at the tracks shown in the photographs taken by the RCMP, he affirmed that he could not see any bear tracks. He stated that any similarity in the shape of any of those tracks to either a bear or wolf foot was purely coincidental, due to the overflow obliterating the true foot shape. He also stated that the assumption that a bear made the tracks could be disproved by the direction they were heading. If it was a bear, the triangular shape of the tracks would have indicated that the animal was moving toward the position of the photographer, but close examination revealed that the animal was travelling away from that direction. This was confirmed after McNay showed the photographs to five experienced Alaskan Pilots and wolf trackers, three of which were biologists of the ADFG, whereas the other two formerly worked as wolf survey pilots in Yellowstone National Park. None of the five individuals, however, were identified. McNay gave additional evidence for wolves making the prints by describing their track pattern;
“Although the shape of the tracks and the direction of travel both suggest the tracks in Photo 978 were not made by a bear, the most conclusive evidence for wolf tracks is found in the track pattern. Wolves have a narrow chest and their tracks fall close to the centre line of the animal. The tracks in Photo 978 are very close to the centreline, bear tracks would be more wide apart. Also the tracks are in pairs, that is the typical track of canids moving at a trot or fast walk. Bears either walk, lope, or run more commonly leaving single tracks or tracks that fall in sets of four. The track pattern in Photo 978 is entirely consistent with wolves, but is inconsistent with bear tracks. Given the effects of overflow, the track shape becomes irrelevant, but the pattern of the tracks is typical of a trotting canid.”
— "A Review of Evidence and Findings Related to the Death of Kenton Carnegie on 8 November 2005 Near Points North, Saskatchewan" by Mark E. McNay, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fairbanks, Alaska, 25 May 2007
McNay noted that Carnegie's body lacked the severe head trauma and broken bones he believed to be characteristic of a fatal bear attack. Notably, his assertion relied on evidence from fatal grizzly and polar bear attacks, rather than lethal attacks by black bears. He argued that the areas of Carnegie's body where flesh had been removed were inconsistent with bear feeding patterns; most of the stomach and intestines were eaten, and a large portion of the muscle mass from the ribs to the knees was consumed. From this, McNay pointed out that bears are solitary feeders, and claimed without providing evidence that victims usually have only one area of their body eaten; whereas those of wolves, which feed collectively, will have multiple areas of their body consumed, as in Carnegie's case. He then argued that the amount of flesh consumed in the short time of the victim's death (estimated by him to be 70–80 lb (32–36 kg) of what was once 145 lb (66 kg) made a bear more unlikely;
“Studies of maximum consumption rates in brown bears indicate a bear could consume up to 15% of its body weight in a 24-hour period and that amount of food could be ingested in as little as 12 hours by an extremely hungry bear. Maximum consumption of approximately 7% of a bear’s body weight would be expected during a 4–5 hour period. A large, 300 lb bear therefore would eat about 21 lb in 4–5 hours, far less than was removed from Kenton Carnegie’s body. Therefore, the amount of tissue loss and the patterns of tissue removal from multiple sites as shown in RCMP Photos 934, 937, and 929 are most consistent with simultaneous feeding by multiple predators. Wolves can consume 15–20 lb each during a single feeding bout so the amount of tissue loss from Mr. Carnegie’s body in this case is consistent with feeding by 2–4 wolves.”
— "A Review of Evidence and Findings Related to the Death of Kenton Carnegie on 8 November 2005 Near Points North, Saskatchewan" by Mark E. McNay, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fairbanks, Alaska, 25 May 2007
As with Patterson, McNay cited the bruise on Carnegie’s right lower leg (measured 4 × 2.5 cm), as well as what appeared to be bite mark impressions associated with the bruising as further evidence of wolf involvement. He stated that the position of the marks on the right shin indicated that the bite had been inflicted from the front or side, which was consistent with injuries observed in 13 survivors of wolf attacks in Alaska and Canada. In many of these cases, the initial bites were fleeting and occurred in the hands or legs, and left only torn clothing, scratched skin, or minor puncture wounds. For comparison, McNay provided photographs of wolf-inflicted bites on three people. In one such photograph, the bite mark and bruising inflicted on the victim (Canadian biologist Robert Mulders) was similar in size and location to that seen on Carnegie's leg. Another photo, featuring the injured lower back of a six year old boy attacked by a wolf near Icy Bay Canada, showed bite marks ½-3 cm in length; many of which were similar to those found near the nose, eyes, and right arm of Carnegie’s body.
Regarding the inversion of Carnegie's pants, McNay pointed out that eyewitness Bob Burseth claimed that Carnegies pants were still on when he and Mark Eikel returned to the accident scene to inspect the body the second time. It was only when they returned with the RCMP two hours and twenty minutes later that the pants were completely removed from the legs and ankles, pulled tightly over Carnegie's large winter boots. McNay theorized that the pants had been removed accidentally after they got caught on a tree stump whilst the body was being dragged. However, Paquet and Walker have noted that examination of drag marks evident in images of Carnegie's body taken at the accident site easily disprove the theory.
In response to Paquet's assertion that wolves typically do not drag victims above 40 kg, McNay cited five cases in Canada and Alaska, as well as 195 cases from India where wolves attempted to drag/carry off their human victims when rescuers arrived. Paquet and Walker, however, made no such assertion. As quoted above (see Official Investigation), they maintained that is extremely rare for wolves to drag larger prey more than 10 metres in one direction because individual wolves typically pull in different directions, which eventually disarticulates carcasses. Moreover, the citations provided by McNay as proof that wolves drag their prey, described only children weighing less than 40 kg; which confirmed Paquet and Walker’s initial claim that McNay was attempting to dispute. McNay did provide an example (as well as photo) of a moose calf dragged by 2 wolves for 20 metres weighing 150 lb (68 kg).
McNay also claimed, incorrectly, that Carnegie's body had already lost most of its original mass, therefore facilitating the dragging process. This claim, however, contradicted Patterson's observation that most soft tissue had not been consumed. After reviewing Constable Noey's description of the tracks within the attack site, he found them consistent with those of a long struggle characteristic of wolf attacks;
“Constable Noey noted that Mr. Carnegies’ tracks reversed course from the lake, the tracks moved up the trail a short distance and then there was a large disturbance in the snow as if something rolled in the snow. That may have been where Mr. Carnegie was first attacked and possibly bitten in the leg or shin early in the encounter. Beyond the disturbed snow in the trail, Kenton’s track breaks into a run and ventures off the trail into the surrounding muskeg and forest. At that point he was being pursued, or possibly the act of running stimulated the pursuit. In either case, after a short distance there is a disturbance in the snow and blood begins to appear. Then there is a lot of blood in the snow, both drops and pooled blood. Constable Noey said it appears Carnegie stood at that point for some time because Kenton’s wide-stanced footprints straddled a large amount of blood on the vegetation and on the ground. That sequence is exactly what we would expect with a wolf attack, i.e., initial attack, pursuit, wounding bites inflicted, then a retreat of the wolves while the prey is weakened by blood loss. The drops and undisturbed pooling of blood do not suggest a bear attack where the bear would maintain constant contact with its prey and overpower it with physical force.”
McNay speculated that had a black bear killed Carnegie, only to have it usurped by wolves, there would have been a lengthy period of confrontation between the animals; resulting in well represented tracks around the kill site. He argued that Paquet's organ theory was flawed, because wolves and bears will eat all organs given the chance, and the wolves had been interrupted whilst feeding. Also, seeing as Carnegie was likely their first human victim, it would have been impossible to extrapolate normal, specific feeding behaviours.
However, McNay agreed with Paquet's viewpoint on the scarcity of fatal wolf attacks in North America making it difficult to discern with certainty what one looked like, stating in his report:
“Any remaining arguments about specific patterns of feeding, body position, clothing removal, and wounds will likely not be resolved because the patterns of wolves killing and feeding on humans as live prey are undocumented, and because even with natural prey the patterns related to those factors overlap between wolves and bears.”
Ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary Alberta, who had himself experienced aggressive behaviour from wolves in his home on Vancouver Island began investigating case in the Winter of 2006. Upon examining the photographs taken by Todd Svarckopf and Chris Van Galder, he found that one of the animals had exposed canines, a raised upper lip, the corners of its mouth slightly opened and ears pitched forward. The wolf was positioned in a slight crouch with its hind legs braced for a lunge forward. The tail was held in a position bordering on neutral/confident. Its eyes were also averted, to which he stated that in wolf communication is done by confident, domineering individuals[clarification needed]. He stated that rather than a defensive posture usually taken by wolves feeling threatened, it was one of assertive aggression with no hint of fear or insecurity. Finnish biologist Kaarlo Nygrén of the Game and Fisheries Research Institute of Ilomantsi gave a similar conclusion on examining the photographs. However, noted ethologist and wolf specialist Dr. Harry Frank, who was asked by Geist to review his report, concluded that Geist's interpretation was in serious error. Dr. Frank's assessment concurred with that of Drs. Paquet and Walker as well as Dr. Jane Packard of National Geographic.
"The boldness, confidence, etc. of a wolf cannot be judged outside of interactive context--even the omega wolf in a pack can look bold and confident when standing alone. First, the wolf is exhibiting both vertical lip retraction, which is characteristic of threat, and horizontal lip retraction which is more often an expression of uncertainty or appeasement. The right ear is curled back, not pricked forward. The hindquarters appear to be lowered (low posture-carriage, which is the only completely consistent postural sign of submission that van Hooff and Wensing identified in the analysis of some 50 indices), but I can't be certain of this because of the angle. Finally, the tail is not raised, but appears to be tucked beside the right hip. Far from expressing boldness and confidence, I'm afraid I have to say that this image could almost have been a model for Eric Zimen's line drawing of a wolf expressing uncertainty--fear mixed with protest."
Dr. Harry Frank, 3 March 2007
Geist also examined photographs of where Carnegie died, and notes given by the RCMP on Carnegie's movements reconstructed from tracks. Geist found the bear hypothesis more doubtful upon reading in the hypothetical reconstruction that Carnegie was repeatedly knocked down and got up before dying. This, he reasoned, would make a bear unlikely, as bears are adept at pinning down prey and preventing them from standing. Geist also suggested that bears, after making a kill, usually drag it into heavy brush to eat in peace, whereas Carnegie was immediately eaten in the open after he died; a behaviour consistent with wolves. Paquet has noted, however, that there is no evidence that Carnegie was eaten immediately after being killed as time of death is unknown. Geist responded to a statement that he incorrectly attributed to Paquet that only a bear would have dragged Carnegie's body, by pointing out that the body was only seen to be dragged after the RCMP officer arrived on the scene, added to the fact that the body was not hidden in vegetation as Geist believes a bear would have done. In addition, Geist claimed that upon looking at the photographs showing tracks surrounding Carnegie's body, the tracks belonged to wolves of varying size, with no sign of bear or other animals. Yet, according to all other investigators, no images were taken at the scene or are in evidence that show Kenton's body and discernible wolf or bear tracks. Geist seemed to have confused images of the body taken the night of the attack with those shot some 15 hours after Carnegie's body was recovered. The later images revealed the tracks of people, wolves, foxes, and possibly black bear; but none taken at the specific location where the body was found showed any tracks.
“Fortunately, the constable shot photos till the battery went dead and I have reviewed all of them. There are the boot tracks of people and the paw prints of wolves – not coyotes, not dogs, not foxes, not cougars, not lynx, not bears, nor of little green men from Mars! Valerius Geist, 22 February 2007
Geist sent copies of the photographs of the scene to European biologists Dr. Eirik Granqvist of Borgå, Finland and Dr. Nygrén. Upon inspecting the photos, they both came to the same conclusion, responding;
“The pictures are for me quite clear and there is no problem to tell which are the tracks. I cannot see any footprints of a bear. Just human footprints and plenty of nice and very clear wolf-footprints. Also a fox has been interested to come and have a look.”
— Dr. Eirik Granqvist, Borgå
“PICT0989: human and wolf tracks, struggle, blood. Snow has been fallen some days earlier, blown away from the dwarf shrubs and melted some when in contact with dark objects. Ideal conditions for tracking.
PICT0985: Path with human and wolf tracks. Beside it some tracks of a man, signs of struggle, blood. Snow as in previous picture. PICT0986: Human and wolf tracks, blood, struggle. Snow as in previous pictures. PICT0987: Human and wolf tracks, struggle. One mid-size -to large wolf tracks coming towards the scene, four wolf tracks going out of it: one large, two mid-size, one small. Another track of a small canid (possibly also wolf) going to the left. No clear blood. Snow as in previous pictures. I failed to see anything resembling bear tracks in any of the pictures.”
— Kaarlo Nygrén, Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Ilomantsi Game Research Station
Subsequently, Geist revised his official statement to include the tracks of fox. Geist was unable to find any evidence of bear predation on the body, based on the nature of the bite marks. In his report, he wrote that contrary to the statement by Paquet that "The clothes and skin been stripped away, indicating the so-called banana-peel eating technique common to bears", the skin had not been peeled back. The photography revealed typical wolf inflicted injuries, including clean cuts, and slices cut somewhat at right angles to the bones, consistent with carnassials cutting the tissue. Black bears on the other hand pluck flesh with their incisors, as their molars are blunt and are evolved for crushing rather than slicing. Geist, upon observing the amount of missing tissue concluded that in the three hours before the body's discovery, at least three and possibly four wolves had fully fed on 35–40 kg (77-88 lb) of body mass. A black bear would have been unlikely to have consumed that much body tissue in the short time available. In response to Paquets statement that intact organs suggested wolves were not involved, Geist pointed to his own observations and those of Russian and European scientists, citing cases in which some wolf packs preferred to consume the fat deposits first, as had been the case with Carnegie.
Geist commented on the nature of the bruises on Carnegie's shin;
“The best diagnostic sign identifying wolves as opposed to bears is the evidence
for piercing or bruising by the premolars. Wolves have sharp premolars, black bear lack such, except for some having vestigial stump as a 3rd premolar. One can clearly identify on Carnegie’s shin the punctures left by the two canines and their supporting third incisors (PICT932). Unfortunately the circular nature of the shin precluded a solid grip by the premolars. There is a faint bruise on the skin where the first right premolar of the wolf is expected to be (behind the canine, a bit farther back than the 3rd incisor puncture is ahead of the canine puncture, and a little further inward, laterally compared to the 3rd incisor puncture). However, as the photos now stand, the bruise is faint. The opportunity to examine such definitively was missed on autopsy. That is unfortunate.
— Dr. Valerius Geist, "Statement by Valerius Geist pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie" 2007
The Chief Coroner's confidential investigative report was completed in the summer of 2006 and given to the Carnegie family for review. The report determined Carnegie was killed by either wolves or a black bear, and that the poorly conducted initial investigation and uncertainty of circumstantial evidence precluded a definitive conclusion. An Inquest date of February 2007 was then called by the Chief Coroner, but was rescheduled for 29 October 2007.
The presiding judge concluded that Geist lacked relevant expertise and did not qualify as an expert witness, which prohibited inclusion of his affidavit and testimony. She noted that Geist had never published a peer-reviewed paper or had a grant proposal funded concerning wolves or bears. Similarly, Patterson was also excluded as an expert by the judge, but his evaluation was introduced indirectly by the Carnegie Family's attorney, Harold Johnson. Paquet, Walker, and McNay were deemed qualified experts and all testified at the inquest. The Province of Saskatchewan chose not to present an affirmative case supporting the findings of the Chief Coroner. Accordingly, the lawyer representing the crown did not carry out in depth examinations of witnesses. Further, judicial inquests in Saskatchewan apply a much lower standard for determining cause of death (balance of probabilities or 51%) than do determinations by the Chief Coroner (reasonable doubt or 95%). On 1 November 2007, following three days of testimony and examination of photographs of Carnegie's body and the site of the accident, a six member jury concluded that wolves were responsible for Carnegie's death.
Dr. Paul Paquet stood firmly by his initial conclusion that Carnegie was killed by either wolves or a black bear, but circumstantial evidence was inconclusive as to which predator was responsible; "The jury's decision was a poor one, which I'd put in the same category as 'O.J. Simpson is innocent'". This victim was drained of all the blood from his body. He continued to cite the extensive dragging of the body and atypical choice of organs consumed from the body as evidence against wolves, and reiterated that it is not true that all black bears at that period would have been hibernating. He also noted that the presence of wolf tracks was compelling evidence implicating wolves but not definitive proof that wolves were responsible for Carnegie's death. Paquet maintained that the reports by McNay, Geist, and Patterson that were commissioned by the Carnegie family were seriously flawed, riddled with factual mistakes, misinterpretations, logical inconsistencies, and relevant omissions. He maintained that McNay and Geist overreached with the evidence and confused theory and assumptions with fact and proof, while consistently ignoring relevant information. He stated that McNay provided no basis for his estimate on the amount of flesh consumed from the body, which was a gross exaggeration resulting from McNay's confusion between volume and mass. Paquet argued that the pathologist who carried out the autopsy estimated 25% of the body volume was consumed, all soft tissue and internal organs. Based on rigorous forensic techniques, Paquet and Walker estimated 8–10 kg of soft tissue was consumed. Significantly, most large muscle masses were left intact, with the skin completely torn away. The most egregious omission identified was the misrepresentation and distortion of the major finding of Paquet and Walker that Carnegie was killed by wolves or a black bear. McNay and Geist consistently and falsely claimed that Paquet and Walker concluded that Carnegie was killed by a black bear. Overall, he accused McNay and Geist of failing to exercise prudence, caution, and due diligence when dealing with physical and circumstantial evidence of questionable quality and reliability. Further, Paquet showed that Patterson’s conclusions were largely based on incorrect information.
Dr. L. David Mech, an internationally recognized wolf expert, stated; "Mr Carnegie's death is a terrible tragedy but one fatal wolf attack in the recorded history of North America does not warrant widespread alarm".
Valerius Geist launched criticism on the official investigation, stating that it was too focused on establishing Carnegie’s cause of death, while ignoring wider policy issues such as the alleged failure of some wolf biologists to notice that the wolves of that area had been acting in an unusually bold manner toward humans before the attack, and that there was no real action taken to tackle the circumstances which he believed had led to the attack; freely available human waste added to a scarcity of natural prey, stated by Geist to be a result of increased wolf populations. He also criticised the wildlife officials of the area for taking no action against wolves clearly showing signs of habituation to humans until it was too late. He pointed to the fact that wolves had been sighted in the area weeks before Carnegie's death, and would frequently feed at the Point North garbage dump whilst ignoring workers. This he argued, caused the wolves to no longer see humans as a source of fear, but of food. In conclusion to his report, he wrote;
“In reviewing earlier the historical material pertaining to wolf attacks on humans I discovered some very striking ironies, the most striking being that while North American wolf biologists vehemently opposed the wolf image portrayed in Grimm's fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, and failed to research and develop an understanding of when wolves became dangerous to people and when not, their colleagues studying coyotes did just that! Biologists studying urban coyotes developed a sound understanding predicting when coyotes living in cities would attack children. The biologists studying coyotes were not in a state of political denial. And they put nobody at risk. Quite the contrary! As I have shown, wolves signal impending attacks on people a long time before it happens. They act very much like their smaller cousin, the coyote. Yet the vehemence with which the myth of the "benign wolf" is defended by environmental groups, but also individuals claiming to be scientists studying wolves, transcends reason.”
— "Statement by Valerius Geist pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie", Valerius Geist, Ph.D., Professional Biologist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, The University of Calgary, 29 September 2007
Kenton's father, Kim, expressed concern that the Saskatchewan Environments plan to stop further wolf attacks were inadequate, and did not address the problem of landfills which were thought to have been fed upon by the wolves, causing them to become habituated to humans. He stated that the best measure would be to incinerate the garbage, rather than to abandon it.
Notes and references
- Review of Investigative Findings Relating to the Death of Kenton Carnegie at Points North, Saskatchewan by Dr. Paul Paquet, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, and Dr. Ernest G. Walker, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 8 August 2008
- 'McRory, W. 2006. (Confidential) Review of carnivore factors as the cause of the fatality of a 22 year old man in Northern Saskatchewan on 8 November 2005; on behalf of Dr. P. Paquet for Coroner’s report.
- "Statement by Valerius Geist pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie". Wolf Crossing. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- A Review of Evidence and Findings Related to the Death of Kenton Carnegie on 8 November 2005 Near Points North, Saskatchewan by Mark E. McNay, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Fairbanks, Alaska, 25 May 2007
- Re: Review of evidence pertaining to the death of Kenton Carnegie, Brent Patterson, Trent University, Wildlife Research & Development Section
- "Death of a Student in Northern Saskatchewan Caused by a Wolf – Reality or Fiction?" Fourth International Symposium on Canids. Behaviour and Conservation. A challenge to Mankind’s Tolerance. 31 October 2008 Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.
- Manhunters By Andrew McKean, Outdoor Life
- "Saskatchewan gov't denies wolf attack". MiningWatch Canada. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- Svarckopf, Todd. 15 March 2006. "Statement #2 to the RCMP (Corporal Marion), phone interview from St. John’s Newfoundland." Audio transcribed.
- "Victim was gifted and smart: father". Prince Albert Daily Herald. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- National Geographic transcribed tape interview 5506 with Constable Alphonse Noey. Digital copy provided by National Geogrpahic, Washington, D.C.
- "The death of Kenton Carnegie". CBC Saskatchewan. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- Four Wolves Suspected in Man’s Death in Remote Area of Canada
- "November 18th necropsy report on one of the wolves". Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- Wolves at the Door by Moira Farr, Explore Magazine, March 2006
- Paquet, P.C. 1992. Prey use strategies of sympatric wolves and coyotes in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. Journal of Mammalogy 73:337-343.
- Wilmers C.C.; Stahler D.R. Constraints on active-consumption rates in gray wolves, coyotes, and grizzly bears Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 80, Number 7, July 2002, pp. 1256-1261(6)
- "Sexy Beasts". National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- Paquet, P.C. and Walker, E. 2006. Carnegie Investigation Decision Matrix. Supporting document for Paquet, P.C. and Walker, E. 2006. Review of Investigative Findings Relating to the Death of Kenton Carnegie at Points North, Saskatchewan. Office of Chief Coroner, Saskatchewan Justice
- "Fairbanks wolf expert helps debunk Canadian bear attack theory". newsminer.com. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "Inquest begins into death of possible wolf victim". CBC News. 29 October 2007.
- Burseth, Bob. 9 November 2005, 15:07. Statement to the RCMP (Constable A. Noey) at Points North Camp, SK. Audio transcribed.
- "A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada". Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Technical Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Rajpurohit, Kishan Singh (1999). Child Lifting: Wolves in Hazaribagh, India (PDF). ISSN 0044-7447.
- Geist V. The Virginia Wildlifer (May 2003, pp: 39-43?) June 2003, pp. 35-39
- Wolf Ideology & Kenton Carnegie By Jim Beers
- Vyhnak, Carola (15 November 2007). "Parents find peace in jury's findings". Toronto: TheStar.com. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "Wolves killed student: jury". Prince Albert Daily Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "Questions arise in case of wolves killing man". University of Calgary. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- "Wolves Are Targeting Humans As Prey". Western Institute for Study of the Environment. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "Province's plan inadequate, father of wolf attack victim says". CBCNews.ca. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-30.