As darkness fell over the hilly terrains of Khorfakhan, the predators slowly crawled out of their dens for the night's kill. But a few metres away, a group of six picnickers had just begun to unwind under the starry skies, oblivious to the danger lurking just behind their tents.

By Anjana Sankar (Staff Reporter)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 17 Jan 2006, 12:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:33 PM

What sounds like a gripping prelude to a Wilbur Smith novel turned out to be a real life experience for six camping enthusiasts from Abu Dhabi when they were attacked by a pack of wolf-like creatures at their campsite near Wadi, Khorfakhan, on January 9, during the Eid holiday.

The campers said the creatures numbering over 30, hovered around their tents three times during the night, and one of their friends almost got mauled through the car windows.

"It was a terrifying experience and we spent the rest of the night huddled inside our four wheeler, without food and water, as we were afraid to venture out to our tent, pitched about 10 feet away from where the vehicle was parked," Pradeep Paul from Hyderabad, India, told City Times, recollecting the panic-striken hours the group spent in the remote location.

"We reached the spot at around five in the evening and pitched the tent. The camp fire was also lit. We were having real fun, singing, dancing and chatting when my sister Julie noticed something moving behind the bushes, a few feet away from the tent. It was almost 8.30; the fire was doused and we could clearly see a few pairs of eyes glowing in the night, through the net window of the tent," said Pradeep.

"We all screamed and shouted in order to scare them away, and that worked. We were actually thrilled by the incident and kept on chatting about all kinds of crazy stuff without an inkling of what was in store. We remained inside the tent while our friend Anirban Chakravarthy ventured out near the campfire and was talking to his friend on the phone. After about 10.30, we heard some strange sounds and it did not take us long to understand that the creatures were coming again, but this time as a pack of over 30," Pradeep said.

An electrical engineer from Bangladesh, Chakravarthy, told this reporter that they scurried to their four wheeler immediately because the animals were coming closer and were more aggressive than before. "When they moved closer to our vehicle, we kept on honking and they slowly dispersed. As it was dark, we could not figure out whether they were wolves, or foxes. We were petrified and wanted to drive back immediately. But the road was bad and we had no option but to stay back till the next morning," noted Chakravarthy.

The drama was not over till 3.30am, when the predators came again and started scratching on the doors of the four wheeler. "We had just dozed off when our friend Subrata from Canada felt something cold and rough moving against her hands. The glass on her side was slightly open and one of the creatures had poked its paw through the window. She turned white for a second and let out a scream. By that time, we had all reached our wits end," Chakrvarthy said.

But an official from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, opined that the creatures could not have been Arabian wolves because they are solitary and do not normally move in packs. "Another possibility is foxes, but they do not attack human beings. But what I can assume is that they must have been feral dogs, venturing out for food. They can be aggressive, even though it cannot be a life-threatening situation," said the official.

According to her, these creatures could venture out in search of food due to the scarcity of the same in the desert. "The smell of food might have attracted them to the camp site, and as you know, the campers do leave behind a lot of waste food. People just have to be careful, but otherwise there is no reason to panic," concluded the official.

More news from