Alaska Rep. Don Young suggested recently (to many people's horror) that we should let wolves "solve" the homeless problem in a district of Alaska. The insensitivity of that comment aside, experts say the likelihood that wolves would attack people is simply far-fetched.
From fairy tales to phrases like "lone-wolf terrorist," wolves are vilified in our culture, and yet a fact check finds that a person is more likely to be killed by lightning, ATVs, dogs, cows, and even elevators than by a wolf.
Rep. Young, who made the comment at a House Natural Resources Committee budget hearing, argues gray wolves should be removed from the endangered species list, and told Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that if he introduced wolves in her district, "you wouldn't have a homeless problem anymore."
"Young is famous for his off-color comments, but this statement is entirely ignorant," Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center, told Discovery News.
She said that in the 21st century, only two known human deaths have been attributed to wild wolves in all of North America: one in Alaska and the other in Canada. A report authored by Mark McNay for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirms the cases. In both, the wolves likely were habituated to humans before the encounters.