Not just crying wolf
By DAILY SUN STAFF
Residents of a Flagstaff apartment complex are being asked to be on the lookout for a roving “pack of wolves,” but state Game and Fish Department officials think the warning is all bark and no bite.
Earlier this week, a teenager riding his bike at Oakwood Village on Yaqui Drove was chased by a pack of animals that some at the apartment complex described as wolves, said apartment manager Debbie Barnes.
“A couple of the maintenance guys and tenants had seen them chase one of the tenant’s children … uphill on his bike. He got off the bike and ran into his mom’s apartment and they called police,” Barnes said.
“The maintenance guys saw a pack of nine and they said they were not coyotes, not wild dogs, they were wolves and they ran into the forest behind us,” Barnes said.
To be on the safe side, the apartment office sent tenants a note saying: “Please be aware wolves, running in a pack of nine, have been seen running through our properties into and out of the forest behind us in the evening and early morning … the first time they were observed was two nights ago. Please keep an eye on your children.”
The young man pursued by the animals talked about the close encounter with Bob Barsch, wildlife manager for the Game and Fish Department in Flagstaff.
Barsch wants to assure Oakwood Village residents that it’s highly unlikely that wolves are on the prowl. The nearest wolf pack is located in the wilds of eastern Arizona near the New Mexico border and is closely monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Plus wolves rarely chase people, especially on bikes
“That would be really unusual wolf behavior. They just don’t run into town and chase people on bicycles. In fact, we’ve never had a record of a wolf, unless it was rabid, attacking people. On the other hand, it’s very common for dogs to chase people on bicycles,” Barsch said.
A Mexican gray wolf did visit the Flagstaff-area two years ago and was seen roaming on Anderson Mesa. It was hit by a car and killed on state Highway 89 north of Flagstaff.