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.