News

Annual Wolf Watch Fundraiser – Anita Greenfield

We would like to thank WWUK lifetime member Anita Greenfield for hosting her annual Wolf Watch fundraiser / card, cake and prosecco evening and donating the proceeds to our wolves. Anita came along to centre and presented the cheque to Tony.

Thank you Anita we greatly appreciate your continued support and we look forwards to welcoming you back to see the pack very soon.

Work continues on Kgosi Lodge

Work is now well underway on our new lodge, with pipework being laid and the first bricks placed, you can see here the initial footprint of the building is taking shape. We will keep you posted over the next few weeks, on how we are getting along with the exciting new development – for now it’s back to the building site!

Extract from a new book, Forest – Walking Among Trees by Matt Collins

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

“Rewilding / Reintroduction of wolves into Scotland” – Tony’s view

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,

Tony Haighway,

WWUK

Card, Cake and Prosecco!

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.

Wolf Night 2019 – Paradise Wildlife Park

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.

Announcement from Tony Haighway

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

Wolf Night – October 20th

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!

https://www.pwpark.com/whats-on/events/wolf-night-1

Wolf Watch needs your urgent support!

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:

https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/registrationWizard.do?action=start

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.

New Educational Lodge

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.

http://Severn Oak Timber Frames Read the full article via shropshirelive.com at: https://www.shropshirelive.com/2017/07/21/future-secured-for-shropshire-wolf-sanctuary/#.Wd8_LVqUuZA.facebook

Madadh 16.4.99 – 30.10.17

MADADH
“So dawn goes down today, nothing gold can stay”
Luke Smith, one of our long term volunteers, quoted this from a beautiful poem by Robert Frost.
It speaks volumes about the cycles of nature, but also reflects on loss and that nothing, especially the best, can last forever.
It’s hugely appropriate in describing the reality of losing Madadh.
Along with her brother Kgosi, Madadh arrived at Wolf Watch almost 19 years ago at the tender age of 8 days.
They were small bundles of fur mainly solid black in colour just a hint of brown around their heads.
When not asleep, their only purpose in life was to suck milk formula from a tiny bottle with a ferocity that gave meaning to the word ‘survival.’
Their eyes had not yet opened, so, for better or worse, some 4 days later I featured prominently in their first glimpse of the outside world.
Small milky blue eyes showed little recognition or focus, but the search for milk was relentless and eased quietly to a standstill only after capacity was reached and a swollen undercarriage radiated contentment and the passage into sleep was complete.
I doubt that any prediction of how Madadh and her brother was to affect my life in the years to follow could have contained a great deal of accuracy.
On reflection, it could be summed up in a few words:
‘Nothing else could have delivered the depth of pleasure that the sum of experiences of being around them gave to me.’
‘It’s been a privilege to have shared in their lives.’
Madadh was an exceptional Wolf. Whilst always her own Boss, she was also the most socialised example of her species that I have ever met or heard of.
She loved meeting people. The mutual excitement of Wolf and Human at the point of greeting, was mirrored in their faces and as I write this
the volume of messages and expressions of sadness at her passing, indicates the depth of feeling and the extent to which she touched so many people’s lives.
I, along with so many others, will miss her greatly.
Thank You for all you support, without which Wolf Watch would not exist.
Tony.

Wolf Night Paradise Wildlife Park 2017

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.