Wolves released from Haliburton Wolf Centre

By Jenna WoottonJenna Wootton


Photo by Digital Vision/Thinkstock


The Haliburton Wolf Centre started 2013 off missing a few members of its pack.  

The Wolf Centre, which is part of the privately owned, 70,000 acre Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, is a world leader in education and research, offering visitors the opportunity to view and learn about wolves in a natural setting.

On January 1st, the Haliburton Highlands OPP responded to a call from the reserve. They discovered damage to the centre’s fences, which allowed four wolves to escape the 15 square kilometre enclosure where they were born and raised, and enter the surrounding forest. The openings in the fence, which appear to be cut by vandals, were made on New Year’s Eve, sometime between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The reserve’s owner, Peter Schleifenbaum, believes the vandals are animal rights activists or “individuals with a similar zeal to ‘liberate’ captive animals.”

“What these individuals in their misguided efforts do not realize in this instance is that they most probably rang the death knell for the wolves that did become ‘liberated’—unless we are able to recapture them: our wolves were born and raised in captivity,” said Schleifenbaum in a recent release. “While [the wolves] have the instinct to hunt and kill, they never had the opportunity to learn or exercise these skills in their enclosure, where they were fed dead carcasses whenever they required food.” And, with two of the escaped wolves being the alpha pair, Schleifenbaum says the remaining members of the pack will be thrown into turmoil.

While he doesn’t expect any of the wolves to pose a serious threat to humans, it is likely that they will begin approaching local cottages as they become hungrier. 

For more information about the incident, go to the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve



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Jan. 3, 2013

3:52 pm

Interesting comments. Obviously, this was a stupid act. Ironically, two nights ago a group of cottagers were discussing the Wolf center and the program of breeding within this small group of captive wolves. It would interest me to know how breeding is controlled within this family group. As I am involved with breeding dogs, and with the serious consequences of breeding of siblings, a followup on the control and continuation of the wolf population here would be benificial. I could find nothing on line regarding this topic and this facility.



Jan. 3, 2013

2:37 pm

How heartbreaking to hear that the alpha male is already dead. It's a tragedy for the entire pack, including the ones remaining at the park. I also hope that these misguided fools who cut the fence suffer at the hands of their own conscience for this stunt.


Jan. 3, 2013

9:21 am

An absolute tragedy! These activists clearly didn't put much thought into their actions. They already discovered the alpha male of the group had been shot and killed. This type of crime is heart breaking and I suspect the other escaped wolves will not survive very long on their own. I truly hope that they are able to bring the perpetrators to justice! I hope that their conscience eats away at them and they do the correct thing and turn them selves in.

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