South West News

'Native' Wolves Return to Longleat

A pack of European wolves is settling in to its new woodland home at Longleat.

It’s the first time the species, which once roamed wild in the UK, has gone on public display at the Wiltshire safari park.
The eight-strong pack, which consists of mum Eliska, dad Jango and their six pups, moved into the Wolf Wood earlier this year and will be accessible to visitors during the February Half Term Holidays.
The pups, three males and three females, who are now eight months old are the first youngsters to have been born at Longleat for a decade.
“Both mum Eliska and dad Jango were first-time parents and we weren’t sure how well they would be able to cope with such a relatively large litter,” said keeper Eloise Kilbane.
“We needn’t have worried as they’ve both been extremely attentive and very caring and the pups are now virtually fully grown.

“Historically we have always kept Canadian timber wolves here at Longleat. However, due to their age and the fact we cannot introduce new wolves into the existing strict pack hierarchy, the group size has declined over the years.

“We decided to re-locate the remaining pack to an area away from the drive-through Safari to live out their twilight years and re-introduce the European wolves.

“There’s something truly special about seeing a species, which was once common here in the UK, back patrolling our woods,” she added.
Today the wild wolf population in Europe is thought to be around 12,000 in over 28 countries. There are established packs in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain and Italy with numbers also on the rise in parts of France and Germany.
In 2011 wolves were also reported in Belgium and the Netherlands.
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