A she-wolf that bit at least 10 people in Tiberias and the surrounding areas was tracked and fatally shot near Kibbutz Ginosar in northern Israel on Thursday. Health Ministry officials fear the wolf was rabid, and urged all who came in contact with the animal to seek medical treatment immediately.
The animal was initially spotted on the city promenade on Thursday morning. There, it bit half a dozen pedestrians, inflicting light injuries. The wolf bit a man at the northern exit to the city later in the afternoon, and attacked a father and his young daughter on the outskirts of Ginosar.
“The girl was attacked by the wolf, and when her father jumped to save her, he received very serious bites to his stomach and hand,” Yossi Oknin, the head of the Tiberias branch of United Hatzalah, said.
Oknin, a city council member, shot the wolf dead outside of the kibbutz.
“We took medical equipment to treat injuries, should there be any, and weapons,” Oknin described. Upon reaching the kibbutz entrance, Oknin came across the wounded father and daughter.
“People in the area pointed us to where the wolf had run off, we started searching, and suddenly she ran out of the bushes toward us. We shot her and killed her,” he said.
Despite Oknin’s preliminary appraisal, all bite victims were declared to have received light injuries.
Police and medical personnel were uncertain of the species of the animal prior to killing it. After the shooting, the carcass was sent to a veterinarian for rabies testing where it was determined that it was a wolf, and not a jackal or wild dog as had been previously thought.
Amit Dolev, an ecologist employed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, told Channel 2 that while the wolf exhibited none of the physical symptoms typically associated with the disease, its erratic behavior indicates it was rabid.
Dolev said all citizens that had come into contact with the animal should seek medical care, and that if the wolf had attacked dogs, this must be reported immediately as well, to prevent the transmission of the disease.