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Wolves liquidated after Swedish zoo escape

TT/Roger Choate · 13 Jan 2010, 14:16

Published: 10 Jan 2010 12:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2010 14:16 GMT+01:00

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The twelve animals had managed to tear down a fence enclosing their sanctuary and were roaming around freely in Skåne Wildlife Park (Skånes Djurpark) during visiting hours. The public was evacuated, and the entire pack was shot, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The shootings happened only days after Sweden’s first nationwide wolf cull in 45 years came to an end. An estimated 12,000 hunters were granted permits to pursue 27 wolves described by the Swedish Government as “genetically degraded” because of inbreeding. The hunt was heavily criticized by animal rights activists and local officials.

A park spokesman said the situation was extremely dangerous, although he added that the public was not at risk. “This was unbelievably tragic and stressful,” said Foreman Johan Lindström. “We think we dealt with this in the right way.”

“We are very, very saddened,” said Lindström. “It isn’t easy to build up an entire flock and takes several years.”

Story continues below…

Skåne Wildlife Park near the south Swedish town of Hörby is the world’s largest of its type, with more than 800 wild and domesticated Nordic animals representing around 80 species. The park attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually.

TT/Roger Choate (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:06 January 10, 2010 by tzatara1
That are animals , they don't have ID carts,for them doesn't have borders .This is part of their "wild" life and if we want to safe them , it's time to make something.Not like shouting them. After all , We are the intruders .
15:10 January 10, 2010 by moaca
O for Pete sake, what is going on in Sweden with our wolves? First the hunting that was so badly organised it has undergone severe critizism, and now this. I would immediately like to react to what has been stated: The situation was extremely dangerous, and in the same breath, but there was no risk to the public. Am I the only one that sees the contradiction in terms here??? I mean, why were they shot if there was no risk to the public and in exactly what way was the situation so dangerous that a whole pack had to be eliminated??? Also, dont they have dart guns in Sweden to sedate an animal in order to shift it?

Again we see a panic reaction and an operation not thought through properly. Or as we state here in the UK: these people couldnt organize a p*ss up in a brewery. This makes us swedes look like a bunch of retards in how we handle our wolves, either wild or in privat possesion. I hope the people who gave this order will he held accountable, and if they cannot justify this action then they should be sacked on the spot. So would I if I made a monumental blunder at work, I would be out on the street and quite rightly so!!
15:12 January 10, 2010 by Noxtion
Was tranquilizing them not an option? Surely all zoos keep some on hand, it seems like it would have been an easier answer to just killing them all.
15:15 January 10, 2010 by moaca
Also one more point, how about the maintenance of the fencing? I mean, didnt this park make regular checks to ensure the fencing was in good order? This is totally a human error as far as it sounds to me, and the wolves had to pay the price for our incompetence. Because at the end of the day, the human being failed to ensure these animals could escape and should therefore be held accountable.
15:16 January 10, 2010 by travels
If the wolves' lifes depended on their fence you'd think the park would have made sure that the fences were built better and/or not damaged. How sad and poorly planned overall.
15:58 January 10, 2010 by ingka
Shooting them ? can't they just tranquilise them for a while and put them back in their cages ??

I'm sorry to repeat a comment already made above, but it's too sad to read that shooting animals is seriously an option in a country which claims to be so much on the front of eco tourism! Shame on you Skåne Wildlife park this is very emberassing.
16:03 January 10, 2010 by Ranjit T Edward
How distressing this is. Just a few days ago, they let 12,000 hunter on 27 wolves. And now this. I really cannot understand how these 'humans' can live with themselves! I am sure the ones that got their trophies are bragging of their achievements. Clearly, these are demented and intellectually flawed people that society can do without.

Noxtion, that is my question too. Why were these animals not tranquilized?? And brought back safely. Clearly, if they can be shot with a bullet that kills, they can be shot with a bullet that tranquilizes. The powers that be need to be culled...to bring in people with proper reasoning.
16:24 January 10, 2010 by bira
Why weren't the wolves tranquilized? I think the Skåne Djurparken has some explaining to do. Inexcusable overreaction it would seem. Since all visitors were evacuated, I would think they could have refrained from such drastic measures as killing them.
19:32 January 10, 2010 by wxman
For the uninitiated, this is referred to as "Wildlife Management". Now, move along.
19:34 January 10, 2010 by Tall swede
Tranquilizers are short range. Really short range. And you dont get within 10 meters from a wolf that just escaped. And you dont use it on running, scared, exaused animals. It doesnt work that well when their adrenaline is pumping like crazy. And then suddenly you overdosed them and they die. It was not dangerous to the visitors because of the wolves. But visitors should not be near escaped animals anyway. And if they get out the shotgun to kill the wolves, you dont want children running around behind the wolves, right?
20:40 January 10, 2010 by fridayz
what if they were tigers!
23:13 January 10, 2010 by BlackfDes
Wolves commit suicide after humans invade.

Today a pack of wolves senslessly threw themsleves into the path of oncoming bullets as they attempted to escape a human invasion of their property. The barbarians blamed faulty wiring in a safety fence. The wolves were deemed a clear and present danger to the invading force and thus warning shots were fired in the direction of the wolves. These shots were not designated kill shots but clearly the wolves had ideas of martydom as their deliberate movements into the path of the bullets clearly shows. Thankfully none of the invading force were injured or killed.
23:27 January 10, 2010 by Twiceshy
Just genius... shooting animals instead of tranquilizing them.

Someone pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.
23:38 January 10, 2010 by metalmonkey
I think that the people who shot the wolves should be taken aside and tell them okay we are going to now shoot you, no you do have a choice, one gun has a tranq dart the other has bullets, now which seems the more reasonable choice to you?
00:24 January 11, 2010 by GLO
Who keeps making these stupid Knee Jerk decissions. Let Nature decide....
02:28 January 11, 2010 by Frobobbles
This was the third time in four days that the wolves escaped. What does that mean? Let me spell it out: incompetence of gargantuan proportions.
03:32 January 11, 2010 by Davey-jo
These people are obviously incapable of keeping wild animals. Close the place down and release all the animals. Oh and keep the wild and dangerous bipedal ape-like critters away from the area. Shoot them on sight!
06:49 January 11, 2010 by jose_s
It's sad to hear that someone has the power to make these decisions. People that work at zoos are usually animal lovers and will try to to do what they can to save and protect them. I would hate to see any of them transfer jobs to retirement homes..... "Oh.. Greta with alzheimer's walked off again, bring out the .22"
08:06 January 11, 2010 by RoyceD
Just another good decision to add to the pile....
11:50 January 11, 2010 by zakz77
The killing could very well have been a pre-meditated act.
06:30 January 12, 2010 by lingonberrie
Less animals liquidated and more people liquidated would suit me.

I would have no qualms volunteering for the work.
07:10 January 12, 2010 by Nabeki
I'm astounded that the wolves were killed. Hasn't anyone at Skane Wildlife Park heard of tranquilizers? Why not dart the wolves and put them back in their enclosure? Just completely over reaction and now an entire pack of wolves are dead, including pups of the year. This comes on the heels of the unpopular wolf hunts. Just stunning.
18:35 January 12, 2010 by lolly
I've been to that particular park, it's gorgeous and when I found out the wolves that my Sambo and I spend ages looking for before finally locating them were put down I was distraught.

That being said - when you are keeping wild animals in any zoo, there is a measure of risk that they will get out and destroy other animals. In fact this is what happened.

Other animals (Deer and sheep) were killed in the breakouts and even though the fence was fixed - some of the wolves broke their teeth on the third escape attempt which resulted in them being put down.

The fact that the wolves were packing and attacking animals, if they had not been dealt with then, they would have posed a nasty risk to farm animals, residents and tourists - they had started to figure out how to hunt.

I feel sorry for the staff who had to kill the wolves, if what I felt was even a 10th of how they feel, then it was very devastating indeed.
20:14 January 12, 2010 by lingonberrie
Most Wildlife Science minors and majors know better, and so do true sportsmen and women. Unfortunately, there are in these days a dearth of said people.

However, I have also known a Professor of Wildlife Science who joined in hunts to kill wolves from a helicopter.

I never spoke to this excuse for human on the street. When his helicopter goes down and burns, justice will be served.
15:34 January 13, 2010 by wendysez
We had a similar incident in Richmond, Virginia about four or five years ago. A four-year old child climbed over a fence and managed to squeeze his hand through a second fence to pet a black bear. When he got home, his mother noticed he was scratched and called the park to enquire if the bears had up-to-date rabies shots. Apparently, the bear had not bitten or clawed the boy, but its raspy tongue had broken his skin. The park officials panicked and immediately had the two bears that lived within the enclosure killed and their brains dissected to check for rabies. There was no rabies, but a public furor arose over the knee jerk execution of the bears, who had lived at the park since they were orphaned cubs. Mayor Wilder was angry, the citizens were angry, the bears' corpses were reclaimed from a landfill dump and given a proper burial with boy scouts and other groups in attendance.

It does seem that the Skane wolves could have been put out temporarily by tranquilizer darts, and relocated to some wilderness area. It seems that the pen was inadequate for their needs to travel and hunt. What a shame.
15:49 January 13, 2010 by lolly
None of those wolves were born in the wild, they wouldn't know how to hunt properly and would have posed a serious risk to livestock and humans.

You can't just relocate them and release them out to the while, you don't think the park administrators would have explored any/all possibilities before taking action?
22:17 January 13, 2010 by wxman
"Let Nature decide.... " This is a truly elitist comment. Like it or not, people ARE part of nature. So you see, nature DID decide.
10:18 January 14, 2010 by geronimoIII
Has modern mankind outlived his usefulness?
04:25 January 27, 2010 by windwalker
Killing the wolves was teh result of incompetence.

Proper fence construction would have very easily prevented this escape from happening.

It is inexcusable.

It would seem that an educated Wildlife Biologist and experience Zoo Veternarian are badly needed at Skåne Wildlife Park .

When people are responsible for the protection of animals in their care and the safety of visitors, a certain experiene level and training background are expected in those employees.

It is obvious there were deficits in both areas.
20:33 February 25, 2010 by RPL7
Panic is what I think happened to those who shot the wolves. They acted out of panic. And now they're rationalizing by saying they did the "right thing". But, did they? Why don't they ask themselves this question. Surely, they ought to have an emergency plan for such escapes; a humane emergency plan. Sounds like poor planning, poor thinking, and not acting on their feet well. Huge mistakes. Every life they took. Those poor wolves who didn't have to die.
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