“The fact that an otter attacked a person was certainly surprising,” said a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game, who added that it’s hard to know what the motivation behind the otter’s “unusual behavior” was.
The community of Gambell fought a distemper outbreak among its dog population this spring and managed to squash the epidemic in its early onset. Distemper is a deadly disease that can afflict dogs and wildlife alike and also has been documented in the North Atlantic to jump from dogs to marine mammals like seals.
A recent spate of attacks on humans and pets by foxes in Topsham may be in part due to a new strain of rabies. As of April 18, there have been five such attacks in Topsham this year. State Veterinarian Michele Walsh theorizes a rabies strain more associated with raccoons has begun infecting gray foxes.
A red fox roams a popular recreation outlet in Anchorage, and gets quite close to people. Treat encounters with caution, as foxes can carry rabies and other diseases.
Nome and the surrounding area, including St. Lawrence Island, is fighting rabies almost as hard as it is fighting COVID-19. Because of the high level of rabies infection Fish and Game requested assistance from the National Rabies Management Response Program. Their job is to manage a wildlife disease outbreak. Several technicians and a rabies biologist are in Nome reducing the number of foxes.
The head of Alaska’s Wildlife Disease and Health Surveillance Program confirms that the City of Nome has a higher than normal case count of rabies in the red fox population. Usually in winter, most of the cases come from Prudhoe Bay and Utqiagvik. This winter most of the cases are from Nome, as well as from Kivalina and other villages around Kotzebue.
When he heard something had bitten his sister, Erik Stevens grabbed a light and went to investigate. "I shined the headlamp and opened the lid, and right there at the level of the toilet seat was a cinnamon-colored bear face, big enough to fill the hole."
After two foxes tested positive for rabies in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., health officials are advising anyone who has come in contact with a fox to contact the local health centre and report the incident immediately.
Officers are dealing with more reports of foxes than in the past. The animals can be a nuisance, denning on people's properties, digging in gardens, making off with pieces of clothing or footwear, and preying on pets.
A decline in caribou abundance is causing coyotes and wolves to come closer to the community of Quinhagak. When a rabid coyote attacked a local dog, it forced the village to bring in a veterinarian from outside the village - and temporarily lift the Southwest community's travel ban.
There seems to be a large red fox population in the region around Nuiqsut, Alaska. When I last traveled there for work, I counted 5 red fox during a 1.5 hour-long car ride.
Adding to the concerns are stories of increasingly aggressive foxes in Marshall and other villages. It appears to be a strong year for the fox population, a state biologist said. Marshall is shooting stray dogs to protect village residents.