It is with sadness we announce that two of our Wolves have recently died. Tilley who came to us almost a year ago and Callow who has been with us for many years.
Tilley and Rickon were involved in a dominance fight through the double fence separating their enclosures. Tilley broke two strands of fence on his side allowing him to get his head through. Rickon bent the wire on his side allowing him the same access. Although there is a nine inch gap between the two, they were able to engage in a fight.
I was able to separate them and Rickon walked away shaking. Tilley was injured and despite every effort I was unable to contain him as he embedded himself in thick undergrowth and kept moving away. There was little the vet could do and it became dark, even with torches I couldn’t locate him. At first light, I managed to crawl to him and extract him. By then he was not fully conscious. Despite best efforts by our vet he succumbed to his injuries.
Ten days later, although not involved in the confrontation, I found Callow curled up in her sleeping place, it appeared she had passed away whilst sleeping.
Having kept Wolves over a long period of time, the experience of loss holds some familiarity. Each Wolf resonates a mark of understanding about life and death. Like people, it’s what has happened in their lifetime that is important. Unfortunately, captivity controlled their lives, so the experiences that nature intended for them were reduced.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that much of their behaviour in captivity mirrors that which occurs in the wild.
The circumstances and timing surrounding the Loss of Tilley and Callow were sudden and unexpected in the sense. I believed double fencing would inhibit such an occurrence and that this behaviour (the augmentation of aggression between males) has never manifested itself until November onwards through to Spring when Cubs arrive and the hormonal situation settles.
For me, it is a lesson learned, that relates to the determination embedded in Wolves when they engage in such behaviours. Overcoming the almost heart stopping shock of discovering something you love is injured or dead can only be dealt with by moving forward. The care and respect is inherent, but I feel the loss must be accepted and regarded as the ‘Flip’ side of the good experiences, happiness and privilege that we have enjoyed in sharing their lives.
I am sorry to bring you this news.
With thanks, Tony