The investigation following the sad events on Friday 21st July concluded that there was no breach of the Wolf enclosure perimeter fence, and no access had been left unlocked or open. However, it did reveal a problem with the electric fencing around the enclosure’s perimeter. The wiring is powered independently, away from the mains electricity, by a fence energiser. The voltage is tested every day by the keepers, using a hand-held fence reader, and the readings are logged. During the routine test on Friday 21st July, the reading revealed no abnormalities and was consistent with other readings dating back to the enclosure’s construction in 2006. But a second fence reader showed a much lower reading. Further tests on-site proved that the fence energiser had developed a fault, and this is now being investigated by the manufacturers. The original fence reader also proved faulty for giving the initial and incorrect high reading. The Wolf enclosure was immediately fitted with a new energiser and a new sensor has also been installed for the daily checks. It is believed the failure of both pieces of equipment contributed to the Wolf escaping the enclosure.
At no point during this incident were any of our visitors in any danger. The safety and well-being of all our visitors is our first priority. We are confident that this incident was an isolated case and that the replacement equipment, combined with an even more intensive electric fence-testing regime, will ensure that our Wolf enclosure will provide a safe and secure home for our Wolves.
Since Friday, keepers are optimistic about Ash’s behaviour towards his cubs. Ash, our male wolf, is displaying encouraging ‘natural’ behaviour as a single parent to his ten-week-old cubs, who are close to being fully weaned. The cubs, a mix of both male and female, are now eating naturally as they would in the wild with the support of their father. Other than ensuring plentiful, regular and appropriate food supplies, the keepers maintain a “hands off” policy. This means that we must let nature take its course, in accordance with the guidelines of the European Captive Breeding Programme, in which the Park participates. We must also bear in mind that Ash is young and this is his first litter. However, we remain confident that the cubs will continue to grow from strength to strength, that Ember’s genetic heritage will endure, and that her life, though short, will have been worthwhile.
The school holidays have begun – as always, we have a full programme of events to enhance our visitors’ time in the Park and to maximise their experience with the animals. We have all the relevant safety measure in place to ensure a safe and secure visit for everyone – now and in the future.