"Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

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"Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Larkarl » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:30 pm

*Note: This is posted with the permission of moderators Koa and Redsky. I know this is a rather controversial topic and hits close to home for some- feel free to post and back up your opinions, but please do not turn it into a debate.

Source: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... wolf-shot/
St. Paul, Minn. — A Mexican gray wolf was shot and killed at the Minnesota Zoo on Wednesday after it escaped through a hole in the fence and appeared on the walking path for visitors.

Zoo officials said no people were in immediate danger but they decided to shoot the wolf because they couldn't predict where it would go or whether it would hurt people visiting the Northern Trail.

"He wasn't aggressive, he was trying to get away as fast as he could, but wolves can be dangerous if they're cornered," said Tony Fisher, the zoo's animal collection manager. "We didn't want to take a chance."

Fisher said the 8-year-old male wolf was in a holding area and not on exhibit when he escaped through a gap in the fence that might have been caused by the weight of heavy snow over the winter. Officials planned to use tranquilizers to stop the wolf, but then he jumped over a second fence designed to keep animals that escape from the holding area away from the public, Fisher said.

"We're going to be looking at raising that fence or making modifications to make sure that doesn't happen again," Fisher said, adding that zoo officials quickly worked to secure the holding area's fence.

Fisher said the zoo has had swans fly away and even had a raccoon-like mammal called a binturong climb up a tree and escape temporarily, but this was the first time officials have had to shoot an animal to keep visitors safe.

"That is the last thing we want to do with our wolves or any animals here, but it is our responsibility as a zoo to maintain our animal collection in a safe manner," he said. "We are prepared to deal with emergencies like this."

People who were in the area when the wolf escaped Wednesday morning were directed indoors as zoo officials arrived with nets and rifles, said Mary Woestehoff, a Richfield resident who witnessed the incident.

Woestehoff said she saw the wolf and quickly picked up her 18-month-old daughter. Then she and her friend reported the wolf on a zoo emergency phone. The wolf was running but didn't appear to be going after anyone, she said.

"It looked like it was scared, like it didn't know where to go. It was definitely out of its element," she said. "It was more frightened of the people than anything else. It looked cornered."

Woestehoff moved on from the Northern Trail to see other animals, and that's when the incident hit her.

"It wasn't until then that I realized I was shaking, and just really scared," she said.

Nevertheless, Woestehoff said she and her daughter and their friends continued their monthly visit to the zoo — without fearing they'd see any more loose animals.

"It's a freak accident I think. I'm not expecting it to ever happen again in my lifetime," she said.
I'm not exactly sure why zoo officials didn't use tranquilizers in the end. It seems that the wolf's location would not have an impact on their decision to use tranquilizers or bullets. It is tragic that the wolf had to be shot in the end, and I'm really unsure as to my feelings on how the zoo handled it. If any of you guys come across other articles with more information on this incident, please share them.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Canidae » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:27 am

Oh goodness...that's a really sad development. I hope there weren't any plans to breed that male in the Mexican wolf conservation program.

I'm glad everybody is safe, though. x.x
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Blightwolf » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:01 am

This was a very unfortunate event, but I think it's irresponsible to say that a wild animal would have not been a threat to anyone. I personally support the zoo offcials' decision to shoot the wolf. I do agree that the wolf probably would have not attacked, but claiming that it wouldn't have been even a potential danger to the people at the zoo is just too irresponsible in my eyes. A wolf is still a wolf, regardless of how docile or socialized or 'harmless' it has been in the past. I know high-content hybrid wolves that are extremely well-socialized and habituated to humans, yet I would never trust them not to attack me or anyone else, especially in a situation where they got loose from their enclosure. Even an escaped domestic dog can be a risk to small children, for example, why should a wolf (or any other wild animal) be any different?

I'm really relieved that nobody got injured, though, and that everybody is safe.
Zoo officials defend shooting of wolf
June 9, 2011

Dangerous predator or terrified runaway?

Minnesota Zoo officials and wolf experts disagreed Thursday over the threat posed by the Mexican gray wolf that briefly escaped its pen on Wednesday before being shot to death.

"We had thousands of people on-site and the potential for danger," said Lee Ehmke, the Minnesota Zoo director.

"That animal wouldn't have been dangerous, period," countered David Mech, a wolf researcher and vice chairman of the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn.

The escape, which occurred when the 8-year-old wolf apparently squeezed out of its enclosure and jumped a fence into a visitor area, was the first in the zoo's 33-year history involving an animal classified as potentially dangerous. Ehmke said the quick killing of the wolf was not a departure from procedure.

"This is a traumatic event for all of the staff," Ehmke said. "But things worked out the way they were supposed to. It actually ended as planned."

Mech and others said that the zoo had to reassure the public it was doing everything it could to protect the safety of its patrons, even if the danger was minimal.

"They were protecting themselves from the perception and the insurance and so many other things," Mech said. "It would have looked pretty bad if the wolf got out of the zoo and caused a big fuss around town. But I don't think there was any risk to anyone."

Peggy Callahan, executive director of the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, said she and her staff last year chased a female Mexican gray wolf for three days after someone released it from its cage.

Her policy at the wildlife center is to use tranquilizers on wolves if they escape, not kill them. "We told the police she was not a threat," Callahan said. "She was terrified."

Although Minnesota Zoo officials said that they feared the animal would become aggressive if cornered, documented attacks by wolves on humans are exceedingly rare, said both experts. There are about 3,000 wolves in Minnesota and an estimated 60,000 in Canada.

The only known fatal wolf attack in modern U.S. history occurred last year in Alaska when a pack of four is believed to have killed a woman who was jogging.

While zoo officials acknowledged that wolves are not inherently aggressive toward humans, they said circumstances dictated lethal measures. Tranquilizers would have taken too long: they require 8 to 10 minutes to take effect. Also, they believed the wolf was disoriented by its surroundings, making its behavior unpredictable.

"We certainly appreciated the gravity of the situation," Ehmke said. "But safety is our No. 1 concern."

The wolf was placed in an off-exhibit enclosure with a chain-link roof and walls about a week and a half ago.

"We thought we had him secure," Tony Fisher, the zoo's animal collections manager, said the day of the escape. "Sometimes animals will surprise you with what they can do."

The zoo is still trying to figure out exactly how the animal escaped. Ehmke said the wolf's holding pen was fully enclosed, but that a net would probably be erected, as well. But there are no plans to house another animal there for now.

"I imagine we all follow similar procedures," said Matt Reinartz, spokesman for the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, which also has had animals escape, including a gorilla in the mid-1990s.

"It's an unfortunate situation all the way around."

Source: http://www.startribune.com/local/south/123592269.html
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Kestrelflight » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:08 am

Wow, that is unfortunate. Thankfully no one got hurt, though I bet it was scary to see a wolf walking around without a handler of some sort, I know I would have probably retreated inside or somewhere else.
Hopefully the zoo won't be affected by the loss.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Canidae » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:21 am

Blightwolf wrote:This was a very unfortunate event, but I think it's irresponsible to say that a wild animal would have not been a threat to anyone. I personally support the zoo offcials' decision to shoot the wolf. I do agree that the wolf probably would have not attacked, but claiming that it wouldn't have been even a potential danger to the people at the zoo is just too irresponsible in my eyes. A wolf is still a wolf, regardless of how docile or socialized or 'harmless' it has been in the past. I know high-content hybrid wolves that are extremely well-socialized and habituated to humans, yet I would never trust them not to attack me or anyone else, especially in a situation where they got loose from their enclosure. Even an escaped domestic dog can be a risk to small children, for example, why should a wolf (or any other wild animal) be any different?
I agree with you here. Wolves will always be dangerous, especially wolves that aren't socialized to people. Since this was a Mexican gray wolf, the zoo probably limited the amount of human contact with it as much as they could. To my knowledge, captive Mexican grays are always kept as wild as possible, since they're all technically the property of the USFWS and part of the captive breeding program.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by zelf » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:35 am

It was sad that they had to shoot it. But like others have said it is a wolf and can be dangouras in a situation like this. I have been bitten by my domestic dog before when he knew I was mad at him and was walking towards him. I think a wolfs reaction would have been a lot worse. My dog just bit me and then ran off and hid. then later he calmed down. I think a wolf would have done a bit more since they are more wild.

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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Koa » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:19 am

Posted a thread here in case anyone wanted to know why tranquilizers were not used:
http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=51710
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by NewMooon » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:39 pm

Koa wrote:Posted a thread here in case anyone wanted to know why tranquilizers were not used:
http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=51710
Just read your thread Koa.

It's too bad that the wolf escaped from the zoo.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by The Blind Guardian » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:53 pm

This is disappointing. According to the article, the wolf was clearly no threat. And I can't help but think, and any moderator who thinks this post might be offensive can remove or edit it, but you have these convicts who escape from prison who are a threat, and they are simply caught and locked back up. So why, then, could the zookeepers not have trapped the wolf and returned him to captivity as well?

And the zoo officials were worried about their patrons, I can understand, but I also can't help but think they were just worried about their money. They probably imagined the people as giant dollar signs. Animals aren't meant to be kept caged up anyway, and although I enjoy going to the zoo every now and again, all an animal ever really wants is freedom. It saddens me to see them in cages. I can't blame the wolf for escaping. It reminds me of a wolf from Bays Mountain, her name was Kawoni. She escaped and was tranquilized, and when they put her back in the pen, her pack would not accept her. Her bloodstream got infected by the tranquilizer dart anyway and she died soon after. It was tragic.

Sorry for my rambling. I just have to express my opinion sometimes or I'll explode. :)

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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Koa » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:43 pm

The Blind Guardian wrote:This is disappointing. According to the article, the wolf was clearly no threat. And I can't help but think, and any moderator who thinks this post might be offensive can remove or edit it, but you have these convicts who escape from prison who are a threat, and they are simply caught and locked back up. So why, then, could the zookeepers not have trapped the wolf and returned him to captivity as well?

And the zoo officials were worried about their patrons, I can understand, but I also can't help but think they were just worried about their money. They probably imagined the people as giant dollar signs. Animals aren't meant to be kept caged up anyway, and although I enjoy going to the zoo every now and again, all an animal ever really wants is freedom. It saddens me to see them in cages. I can't blame the wolf for escaping. It reminds me of a wolf from Bays Mountain, her name was Kawoni. She escaped and was tranquilized, and when they put her back in the pen, her pack would not accept her. Her bloodstream got infected by the tranquilizer dart anyway and she died soon after. It was tragic.

Sorry for my rambling. I just have to express my opinion sometimes or I'll explode. :)
Koa wrote:
The Minnesota Zoo has issued a statement explaining why a Mexican gray wolf was shot and killed, rather than tranquilized, after the animal escaped its enclosure Wednesday morning and began wandering the zoo grounds.

“Wolves are potentially dangerous wild animals. As such, the zoo’s trained and licensed animal escape team is authorized to shoot if there is a potential danger to people (guests or staff),” the zoo said in the statement. “The large number of guests on site and the location of the animal made today’s decision the only one possible under the circumstances.”

Zoo visitors were directed into the nearest building after the male wolf squeezed between two panels in its enclosure, got over an 8-foot-high fence and into the Northern Trail area. No injuries to people were reported.

The zoo cited the following reasons why a tranquilizer was not an option:

• Tranquilizers can take 10 to 15 minutes to fully take effect on an animal;

• a tranquilizer shot can cause an animal to run more and become more aggressive during those 10 to 15 minutes, and a missed tranquilizer shot can have the same result;

• adrenaline can block the effects of a tranquilizer and possibly override any effects;

• tranquilizer darts need to deploy all of their drugs for best results, and when the animal is moving the dart can fall out or bounce off the animal; and

• when an animal is near zoo guests, staff or perimeter fences, it is too risky to wait for tranquilizers to take effect.

“While it is regrettable that this animal had to be shot, it was the appropriate reaction to the situation. The zoo’s primary concern is the safety of our guests, our employees and the community in which we operate,” the zoo stated. “This is the first time anything of this sort has happened at the Minnesota Zoo, and we will redouble our efforts to prevent anything like it from happening again.”
Source: http://www.thisweeklive.com/2011/06/09/ ... an-option/
I, personally, find its not the best idea to compare "prison convicts" to an animal - although both can be unpredictable, an animal that's armed with fangs and general predatory instinct may be more dangerous than someone who is just escaping prison or running away. Depends if that person is armed or not, although if they were escaping from a high-level prison I'm not sure they would be.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by The Blind Guardian » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:57 pm

Koa wrote:
The Blind Guardian wrote:This is disappointing. According to the article, the wolf was clearly no threat. And I can't help but think, and any moderator who thinks this post might be offensive can remove or edit it, but you have these convicts who escape from prison who are a threat, and they are simply caught and locked back up. So why, then, could the zookeepers not have trapped the wolf and returned him to captivity as well?

And the zoo officials were worried about their patrons, I can understand, but I also can't help but think they were just worried about their money. They probably imagined the people as giant dollar signs. Animals aren't meant to be kept caged up anyway, and although I enjoy going to the zoo every now and again, all an animal ever really wants is freedom. It saddens me to see them in cages. I can't blame the wolf for escaping. It reminds me of a wolf from Bays Mountain, her name was Kawoni. She escaped and was tranquilized, and when they put her back in the pen, her pack would not accept her. Her bloodstream got infected by the tranquilizer dart anyway and she died soon after. It was tragic.

Sorry for my rambling. I just have to express my opinion sometimes or I'll explode. :)
Koa wrote:
The Minnesota Zoo has issued a statement explaining why a Mexican gray wolf was shot and killed, rather than tranquilized, after the animal escaped its enclosure Wednesday morning and began wandering the zoo grounds.

“Wolves are potentially dangerous wild animals. As such, the zoo’s trained and licensed animal escape team is authorized to shoot if there is a potential danger to people (guests or staff),” the zoo said in the statement. “The large number of guests on site and the location of the animal made today’s decision the only one possible under the circumstances.”

Zoo visitors were directed into the nearest building after the male wolf squeezed between two panels in its enclosure, got over an 8-foot-high fence and into the Northern Trail area. No injuries to people were reported.

The zoo cited the following reasons why a tranquilizer was not an option:

• Tranquilizers can take 10 to 15 minutes to fully take effect on an animal;

• a tranquilizer shot can cause an animal to run more and become more aggressive during those 10 to 15 minutes, and a missed tranquilizer shot can have the same result;

• adrenaline can block the effects of a tranquilizer and possibly override any effects;

• tranquilizer darts need to deploy all of their drugs for best results, and when the animal is moving the dart can fall out or bounce off the animal; and

• when an animal is near zoo guests, staff or perimeter fences, it is too risky to wait for tranquilizers to take effect.

“While it is regrettable that this animal had to be shot, it was the appropriate reaction to the situation. The zoo’s primary concern is the safety of our guests, our employees and the community in which we operate,” the zoo stated. “This is the first time anything of this sort has happened at the Minnesota Zoo, and we will redouble our efforts to prevent anything like it from happening again.”
Source: http://www.thisweeklive.com/2011/06/09/ ... an-option/
I, personally, find its not the best idea to compare "prison convicts" to an animal - although both can be unpredictable, an animal that's armed with fangs and general predatory instinct may be more dangerous than someone who is just escaping prison or running away. Depends if that person is armed or not, although if they were escaping from a high-level prison I'm not sure they would be.

I know, it is a bad comparison, but it just came to mind as I was reading this topic. They always say to treat others as you would want to be treated, right? :lol: If you think it's an inappropriate comment I can edit it out.

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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Koa » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:58 pm

No, no, you're fine. I wasn't sure if you saw that article or not so I thought I would point it out. Do you understand though as to why they didn't tranquilize the animal? It may seem harsh, but in the end it seemed like the right decision.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by The Blind Guardian » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:04 pm

Ah, okay. No, I didn't actually read the article, but I agree that tranquilizers are not effective in any way. Yes, I completely understand the pros and cons of tranquilizers. ;) It's just tragic that the poor thing was trying to be free and got killed, know?

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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by Koa » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:13 pm

The Blind Guardian wrote:Ah, okay. No, I didn't actually read the article, but I agree that tranquilizers are not effective in any way. Yes, I completely understand the pros and cons of tranquilizers. ;) It's just tragic that the poor thing was trying to be free and got killed, know?
Tragic but when you say -
that the poor thing was trying to be free and got killed, know?
It may be true or not true, most zoos in general aren't bad places for animals and instead can serve as conservation for it. (although this one wasn't exactly "conserved" in the long run) I believe the Minnesota Zoo treats their animals well, and this was probably the most humane thing for it and the safest thing for the people. Who knows - it could have gotten its leg caught in something lying around the zoo if it tried to run farther or potentially could have killed someone.
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Re: "Wolf shot and killed after escaping at Minnesota Zoo"

Post by The Blind Guardian » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:21 pm

Eh... Suddenly I have no more attention span.

Still tragic though. lol We'll just believe whatever we wanna believe about it and be on our merry little way. :P

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