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By STEPHEN FLOYD
Photo A gray wolf was caught on camera Feb. 14 at Crater Lake National Park by local resident Erika Clements.
Erika Clements / web photo
A Klamath Falls woman had a unique experience with a wolf at Crater Lake National Park on Wednesday and was able to capture photos of the encounter.
Erika Clements said she was making her daily deliveries to the park for UPS when she came around a corner and saw what appeared to be a dog digging in the snow.
As she drove closer she realized it wasn’t a dog or even a coyote, but an endangered gray wolf.
“It was quite amazing,” said Clements. “It’s a beautiful park and you know those things are out there, but it’s completely different when you see it.”
Clements said the wolf jumped down from a snow bank and walked around her delivery truck before jumping onto the snow on the other side of the road. She said it was “surreal” being that close to an animal that was both beautiful and threatening.
“You know it’s a wolf, you know it’s dangerous,” she said.
After returning to Klamath Falls, Clements printed photos of the wolf and presented them to park rangers, who turned them over to biologists. She said the biologists presumed the wolf must have been young, given it was so curious about the truck. They also commented about seeing wolf tracks earlier in the west side of the park.
Park staff said Saturday an authorized spokesperson would not be available for comment until Tuesday.
Clements said she wanted to remind people to be careful if they have such an encounter and said she thinks it may have been foolish for her to stop and take the photos she did. She said residents definitely should not leave their vehicles if they observe dangerous wildlife at the park because the animals are far from tame.
“The park is beautiful and there are amazing animals out in the wild, but you need to understand they are wild animals,” she said.