We are pleased to announce that work has commenced on the new Kgosi Lodge. Our builders were on site at 6.30am, and after removing our gates to allow the massive 6 wheeler to get through the foundation’s were dug and 30 metres of concrete laid.
We’ve recently been informed that a new book, Forest – Walking Among Trees, written by Matt Collins includes a mention of Wolf Watch, and Tony. Here is a link for anyone interested: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=j_KEDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT118&lpg=PT118&dq=tony+haighway&source=bl&ots=J5_uvel6zd&sig=ACfU3U2OuiQR8INf1TdnnKjXB_X-iWSOcA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi5qNfOzLviAhVGShUIHWdVBUE4FBDoATAIegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=tony%20haighway&f=false
Dear BBC Wildlife Magazine,
I write in response to your Article ‘A Land fit for Wolves’ June 19, 2019.
As the founder of a privately owned single species rescue and education centre, Wolf Watch UK, I have kept Wolves in large natural enclosures on a continuous basis for almost thirty five years.
Reintroducing the Wolf to the British Isles has been discussed by numerous bodies and individuals for as long as I can remember. Driven by media and those dedicated to re wilding Great Britain the subject has held attention, albeit for short periods, before fading away in the mists of a romantic notion.
Comparisons with the success story of Yellowstone Park are often sited as a good reason for giving the idea credibility. The half a million or so Red Deer that roam Scotland have no natural predator and the damage they do in preventing the natural regrowth of forests is surely a reason in itself for a ‘trial run’ or ‘pilot scheme.’
Or is it? Perhaps we should remember several unfavourable differences…Yellowstone Park is some three and a half thousand square miles of wilderness (about the size of Wales.) We should also consider the number of Wolves needed to make an acceptable ‘Dent’ in the estimated number of Scottish Deer and if we happen to get the equation correct, what happens when such a large number of Wolves start to breed and disperse. Let’s say the average territory of a family pack of European Wolves is a hundred square miles (depending on prey density) I start to see some shrinkage in the possibilities for such a programme.
Then look at the inevitable cost of an environmental impact study. It would cost many millions of pounds sterling. Maybe similar to a high speed railway scheme and it might take longer. Although I could suggest it would be of far more use. Nevertheless, with the tax payer footing the bill who would take the risk of the outcome becoming a none event.
The State of Wyoming envisaged correctly that their project would have an enormous positive effect on the Yellowstone tourist industry as well as the environment. Could we realistically forecast the same for Scotland.
As a farmer in Scotland would you welcome a pack of self catering Wolves roaming the hills amongst your livestock. Those who became adversely affected would likely persecute this intruder and drive him to more remote places. The absence of tourist infrastructure in such places would need to be addressed. Such practices might also cause the animal to consider nocturnal activities to be safer. Could the sale of night glasses reduce some of the costs!
Livestock compensation schemes, extra shepherds, guard dogs and the like, all cost money.
Looking back through history and returning to the present day, many of the reasons that brought about the Wolf’s extinction in Great Britain are not just still in place, but have increased dramatically. These include competition with many aspects of agriculture such as livestock and space. And above all too many people, some of whom simply don’t want this to happen.
Of course the Wolf would present little or no threat to the human population and what a fabulous sight it would make to watch this animal in such a beautiful landscape. But, let us not forget that we are a nation that currently has difficulties in living side by side to badgers and foxes and many other species.
Amongst the many discussions on this subject I have rarely heard mention a most important consideration, that being ‘ Would it be good for the Wolf.’ In my opinion the answer is ‘No.’
Constantly having to look over your shoulder to see if you are being chased by two and a half ounces of lead shot is a high price to pay for freedom.
The Industrial Revolution brought about development to our land, but not a great deal of thought with regard to sustainability. We are now paying the price for that. Our own selfish needs have paid scant regard for other species that share the planet, let alone encouragement for them to increase alongside us. So we now juggle with what we have left in a foolish attempt to live with less.
If indeed the Wolf won the lottery and no expense was to be spared, would it not make more sense to choose a less overcrowd country where it is already indigenous, has a good chance of remaining so, but needs our help through Investment and education.
Finally, I both admire and respect Jim Crumley for his knowledge and passion for the Scottish landscape, but as much as I would love to see the Wolf’s return there, many other environmental priorities are stacking up and begging our attention.
With Best Wishes,
We would like to thank WWUK member Anita Greenfield for hosting a card, cake and prosecco evening and donating the proceeds to our wolves.
Over the last few years Anita has been a valued member and advocate of Wolf Watch and in recognition we would like to honour her contribution by making her a lifetime member.
Thank you Anita and we look forwards to welcoming you back to see the pack very soon.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Lyn, Pia and all at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne.
Unfortunately due to dominance fights with her sister, Anja was rehomed with us in 2015. We are extremely grateful to Paradise Wildlife Park for their continued support of Anja.
The donation will be put towards fencing costs and on going improvements of Anja’s enclosure. Thank you once more.
Anja’s brother Romulus and sister Inge still happily live together at Paradise Wildlife Park.
We’d love to see your wolf themed Halloween pictures, please share them with us on our facebook page:
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
Our friends at Paradise Wildlife Park are hosting their annual Wolf Night. Tony will be there providing an update on our wolves and what’s been happening at Wolf Watch over the past 12 months.
The whole team is looking forwards to catching up with old friends and new. Please show your support to Paradise Wildlife Park who continue to help us with the ongoing care of Anja.
Hopefully see a few of you there!
Our planning application for the erection of replacement building to provide a short-stay lodge/educational facility (Kgosi Lodge), has been submitted to Shropshire Council. We are asking for your support of our application by going to Shropshire Councils planning portal and expressing your support for our proposed educational centre.
Please copy and paste this link into your browser and register with the Council which will then allow you to log into the planning portal in order to leave your comment:
After registering the application number to search is 18/01628
We would greatly appreciate receiving your support as this project forms a major part of our plans for a sustainable future for Wolf Watch UK, and so allowing us to continue to provide for the welfare of the current and future wolves in our care.
Time is limited and the public consultation period expires on 15 May 2018, so your immediate attention to our cause is requested.
All at Wolf Watch UK would like to express our sincere gratitude to Severn Oak Timber Frames, Roger Coy Partnership and ListersGeo for their ongoing help and support with our project to build a lodge / educational facility overlooking the sanctuary.
Please help show your support for Paradise Wildlife Parks Wolf Night on Saturday 21st October 2017. Tony will be a guest speaker providing an update on Anja who was re-homed from Paradise due to a pack dispute with her brother and sister.
Paradise Wildlife Park has continued to support Anja and Wolf Watch UK in general, special thanks go to Lyn and Pia.
A massive thank you to Honley Dog Club and Rivos Kennels for organising a fun dog show last weekend. Raising £285 which they have generously donated to Wolf Watch UK. The funds will go towards helping care for our wolves and purchase plenty sardines for Anja!!
She is unbelievably gentle when taking food.
Wolves are crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem — a fact that was conveniently forgotten when they were exterminated from almost all of the continental United States by ranchers, farmers, trappers and hunters.
Meanwhile, the populations of other animals exploded. The entire ecosystem of the American wilderness was changed by rapidly expanding populations of large ungulates.
After decades of political wrangling with those who traditionally persecuted wolves, conservation biologists and activists who supported restoration of wolves finally prevailed: the grey wolf, Canis lupus, was finally reintroduced several areas in the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. One of those release areas was Yellowstone National Park. Subadult wolves from several packs in Alberta’s Mackenzie Valley were captured using tranquilizer darts and released in Yellowstone in January 1995 and again in January 1996.
Credit: The Guardian, GrrlScientist – an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology and ecology, especially in birds.
Dear Members and Friends,
I have the saddest news, but also in a way I am trying to feel positive about it.
Yesterday afternoon. we lost Kgosi.
He appeared to have been drinking from the shallow part of the stream when he collapsed and died.
A stroke in 2015 had left Kgosi both blind and deaf.
Following treatment from our brilliant vet Lloyd Jones and aftercare by ourselves, Kgosi’s determination to live won the day to regain physical fitness and in addition, hold together the dignity and respect entirely suited to his unique character, that of a dominant, intelligent and magnificent male Wolf.
Equal to the surprise of his recovery was the role undertaken by his sister Madadh who recognised her brother’s disabilities and took it upon herself to act as a ‘Guide Dog.’
She assisted him around their enclosure for a period of some six months until familiarity was restored and with the use of scent he regained his independence.
At the age of 18 years he was one of the oldest Wolves in existence and therefore it was not difficult to recognise that age had finally caught up with him.
Having originated from Port Lyme zoo in Kent, he and his sister were part of an unplanned litter of Canadian Wolves and the Zoo had put a great deal of effort into finding a good alternative home for them.
Arriving here at eight days old the pair slept with me in a sleeping bag on the kitchen floor for the first two months of their life. Bottle feeding them every two hours was both a rewarding and exhausting experience.
In the eighteen years that followed it is impossible to recollect the memories of pleasure and sometimes pain that both animals have taken part in.
There are so many stories.
The certainty rising above all else though, is the Privilege it has been to have played a part in their lives.
Our priority now is to take care of Madadh, old age is apparent and some illness has also taken its toll.
She has shared an enclosure with Kgosi for 18 years plus and it is not difficult to equate her situation with events that have occurred in our own lives.
It is also an appropriate time to thank everyone who has adopted Kgosi over the years. Your help has supported the existence of Wolf Watch UK and the animals we have kept here.
In particular, those who have been able to visit us will share in the sadness of this occasion as anyone who has met Kgosi will have been positively and often spiritually affected by the experience.
Wolf Watch UK.
As some of our members maybe aware it was Anja’s Birthday on the 27th of April. We would like to wish her brother and sister (Romulus and Inge) from Paradise Wildlife Park a very Happy Birthday too.
Here #wolfwatchuk is on #ANIMALRESCUE after a very young #roedeer ran down the drive and slipped on the bend! It recovered well and Tony has released it back into the wild (away from any hungry wolves of course!).