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'Stay calm': Woman walks away after Canada wolf attack

A woman in Manitoba, Canada, was receiving rabies treatment Wednesday after surviving a roadside attack by a timber wolf.

Dawn Hepp was driving along a highway near Grand Rapids, Manitoba, on March 8 when she pulled over to see if a stopped motorist was in need of help, Canadian national broadcaster CBC reported.

As she walked to the other motorist's car, the wolf leapt at her.

"His face and his jaws were around my neck," she told CBC, adding that she could feel the wolf's fur on her face.

"He dug a little deeper with that tooth and by the larynx," she added. "Whether he couldn't get a good enough grip or what, he let go."

Hepp told the broadcaster that she remembered something her father taught her to do if an animal on their farm ever turned on her.

"I could just hear my dad saying, 'Stay calm, Dawn. Stay calm, Dawn.' So what I did was I just stayed calm, I didn't yell, I didn't scream," she said.

Her husband, Kim Hepp, said Wednesday his wife was still in the town of Ashern, where she drove to get medical attention after the attack and where she continues to get rabies injections.

"She's got to stay until she's done with the needles," he said.

Hepp said hearing that his wife had been attacked by a wolf was "pretty scary."

"The [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] were in my yard and told me she was attacked by a wolf and was in a hospital," he said. "I asked straight away if she was OK."

Once free, Hepp walked to her car, wolf in tow, apologized to the other motorist -- who wasn't having car trouble after all -- for having to go, then drove herself three hours to get help, Canada's National Post reported. 

Hepp said the wolf, standing on its hind paws, was taller than her, and she estimated its weight at 200 pounds, according to the paper.

Her husband said he was surprised that the incident had occurred at all.

"There are a lot of wolves in and around town," he said, "but you don't hear about people being attacked by them."

Hank Hristienko, a big-game biologist with government agency Manitoba Conservation, said: "It's extremely rare. As far as we can tell, this is the first ever here in Manitoba."

Disease, starvation, an injury or the desire to protect a nearby kill could have caused the wolf to attack, he said.

Hristienko said he doubted that the attack was driven by a desire to eat. "If it were a predatory attack, she would probably not be surviving," he said.

Hristienko said there are probably at least 4,000 wolves in the province, which at about 250,000 square miles is a little smaller than Texas.

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