The unthinkable occurred to a New Jersey family sound asleep in their tent on a camping trip: They were attacked by a wolf.
The mom, Elisa Rispoli, posted on Facebook: “It was like something from a horror film. When the event took place around 1 a.m., the family was in Banff National Park in Alberta. The federal Parks Canada agency reported the event took place on Friday. Elisa wrote that Matthew, her husband, threw himself in front of her and her two boys as the wolf rummaged through the tent and clamped on Matthew’s arms.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly describe the terror,” she wrote.
Elisa said the incident was like an eternity, but it was actually just a few minutes.
When the neighboring camper, Russ fee, heard the family cries for help he ran over and saw the wolf trying to drag Matthew away.
Fee told CNN affiliate CBC that “The screaming was so intense that I obviously knew it was a terrible situation. “So I just kind of kept running at [the wolf], and I just kicked it sort of in the back hip area.” According to Fee, he immediately regretted kicking the wolf, but it did work and the animal released Matthew. Fee and Matthew started yelling as loud as they could while throwing rocks at it.
Elisa and the rest of the family ran safely to Fee’s minivan. Eventually, the Rispolis went to a nearby clinic where the injuries of Matthew were treated. He had puncture injuries and lacerations on his hands, Elisa wrote, but he is doing fine.
“It could have been so, so much worse, and we are just feeling so thankful that we are all still sitting here as a complete family,” she wrote.
This is the first time that a wolf attacked a person in a national park, according to reports. These are extremely rare incidents. According to Parks Canada, while this is the first wolf attack at this location there was one in British Columbia another in Ontario.
Lesley Matheson, Parks Canada’s spokesperson, said that inside and around the tent there were no significant attractants of wildlife or food.
The campsite was closed for a few days during the investigation by Parks Canada. The park staff tracked and killed the animal on Monday, and verified it was the correct one through DNA testing.
Matheson said that it’s not clear why the wolf was attracted to this family. Parks Canada has stated that veterinary testing has confirmed that the wolf was in “poor condition” and nearing the end of life, which is probably a factor for this behavior. The wolf was underweight for its age, just 78 pounds compared to the usual range of between 100 and 150 pounds, Matheson said. Rabies testing was negative.