Zoo closed for second day after wolves escape damaged enclosure in ‘suspicious’ incident

It’s unclear if an escaped wolf remains on zoo property or wanders outside.


The Greater Vancouver Zoo remained closed Wednesday, a day after multiple wolves were found outside its damaged enclosure and at least one evaded recapture.

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apart from a instagram post Notifying patrons of the continued closure, the zoo failed to provide an update on the wolves on Wednesday ahead of the Postmedia deadline, making it unclear whether the wolf remained at large and is hiding on zoo property or roaming. outside.

A statement posted on the zoo’s website Tuesday afternoon, the day of the breakout, said there was no danger to the public, but asked anyone who saw a wolf in the area near the zoo to contact authorities. .

“Most of the wolves are back in the care of our animal health and welfare team,” the statement said. “GVZoo staff continue to actively search for a small number of wolves that remain missing.”

There were originally nine adult gray wolves and six pups at Aldergrove Zoo.

The BC Conservation Officers Service, which was called in to help recover the escapees, said one wolf remained at large on Tuesday and advised people who saw it to keep their distance and report any sightings.

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Langley Mounted Police Cpl. Holly Largy said police believe the enclosure was intentionally damaged to allow the wolves to escape, but without surveillance footage, it’s unclear how anyone got into the zoo. The person’s motive is also unknown.

In its statement, the zoo called the incident “suspicious” and “malicious intent.”

the wolf enclosure it’s on the south side of the zoo property, near a walking trail and tracks for a mini train.

It is within walking distance of the edge of the zoo property, which abuts a large wooded area that is part of the Aldergrove Naval Radio Section, a Canadian Forces naval radio communications facility that spans about five square kilometers, or 1,220 acres.

According to a 2021 Article at the Aldergrove Star newspaper, base staff sometimes have to deal with bears and beavers on site. There are also several small farms in the area near 264th Street.

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A person guards the gate of the Vancouver Zoo after several wolves escaped from their enclosure on Tuesday.  The whereabouts of a wolf remain unknown after the animals were believed to have been released as a result of a
A person guards the gate of the Vancouver Zoo after several wolves escaped from their enclosure on Tuesday. The whereabouts of one wolf remain unknown after the animals were believed to have been released as a result of “malicious intent”. [PNG Merlin Archive] Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

One wolf expert said that the longer the wolf is missing, the less chance the situation will “end well.”

The wolf’s behavior is difficult to predict because of its time in captivity, said Adam Ford, an associate professor in the biology department at the University of British Columbia.

While a wild wolf is likely to start looking for food, a wolf that has been fed by people is more likely to scavenge or forage for garbage, he said. You can also associate people with food, which could lead to an unpredictable situation.

“Time is ticking for sure,” Ford said. The wolf is likely hungry and “on the go.” If he is outside the zoo, roads are a big problem, as he may not know how to avoid vehicles.

The Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology advised people in the area to be vigilant: “It’s time to keep your Shih Tzu on a leash.”

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But Ford said the wolf’s whereabouts cannot remain a secret for long. The animals are very mobile in their search for food.

In 2020, Takaya, a lone wolf living on a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia, swam to Vancouver Island, likely in search of food, and spent 24 hours wandering through central Victoria.

Children and pets were advised to stay indoors while police tracked down the wolf. He eventually settled down after falling asleep between a fence and a building, and then broke free into a wilderness area on the west side of Vancouver Island the next day.

takaya was shot and killed by a hunter two months later.

In 2021, a pack of nine wolves I escaped their enclosure at a zoo in the south of France during visiting hours by destroying security hatches and scaling a fence, but they did not leave the property. Four were shot to death for “dangerous behavior” while the remaining five were returned to their compound and anesthetized.

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Chantelle Archambault, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Vancouver, said the Greater Vancouver Zoo is not equipped to meet the needs of wild animals and keep them safe. He pointed to a “pattern” of recent incidents, including one in which a child was bitten by a bear and a staff member was injured by a jaguar.

The society asks the provincial government to ban the importation and breeding of animals in captivity in BC

“This incident is very concerning for the safety of the wolves, as well as the public and staff,” Archambault said.

Anyone who sees a wolf on the loose should keep their distance and report it by calling 1-877-952-7277.

— with Canadian Press archive

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