Fairbanks -- An injured wolf seen wandering around the Interior Alaska village of Evansville has prompted a campaign to place the animal in a Washington state sanctuary for wolves.
Wyoma Knight said she was surprised by a suggestion from a state biologist that she shoot the wolf when she called the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to report the sighting around Evansville, a community of about 20 people about 180 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
"I don't see no reasons for it to be shot," Knight said. "It obviously wants to live."
Knight called the animal-rights group Friends of Animals in Darien, Conn., to see if that group would be interested in trying to save the wolf.
Friends of Animals has found a home for the wolf if it can be caught, said Priscilla Feral, president of the organization. Wolf Haven International, a wolf sanctuary in Tenino, Wash., has agreed to take the wolf, she said. Friends of Animals would cover the costs.
"If it isn't able to be in Alaska somewhere, this is the next best solution," Feral said. "It's better than a zoo life."
Fish and Game officials, meanwhile, are considering shooting the wolf because it appears to be increasingly habituated to humans as a result of being fed by villagers.
"Any time we have a situation where we have a wolf becoming acclimated to people as a source of food, it's potentially dangerous," department spokeswoman Cathie Harms said.
The wolf, a gray female, reportedly scratched one resident when he tried to pet it after it was lured into a house, according to Alaska State Wildlife Trooper Curt Bedingfield.
Relocating the wolf would require live trapping and/or tranquilizing it, he said. A person would have to be authorized by the Department of Fish and Game to do that, he said.
Nobody knows how the wolf was injured. It showed up in the village several months ago with a bad leg. According to Knight, the wolf is missing its right front foot, probably as a result of being caught in a trap, she said.
Other than getting into some garbage and bird seed, the wolf hasn't caused any problems except for scratching the man who tried to pet it, said Knight.
Wolf Haven interim director Carole Russo said the possibility of getting the wolf was "an exciting prospect." She didn't know of another wild wolf the sanctuary has received. Most of the 51 wolves at the sanctuary came from zoos, she said.