Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Public warned after pack of wolves released into Suffolk countryside

Wolf pack released into the Suffolk countryside

A pack of wolves is being released into the Suffolk countryside as part of a project to return native species to the United Kingdom.

The wild animals will be introduced to Knettishall Heath, near Thetford, where it is hoped they will settle and breed successfully.

Experts say dog walkers in the area should keep their pets on a lead, while small children will be encouraged to remain in the car.

The six wolves will be released on April 25, after which local farmers worried about their livestock will be urged to check their animals regularly and report any that go missing.

The last wolf in the UK was shot centuries ago, but there have been growing demands for them to return after the successful “rewilding” of beavers and wildcats.

The main benefit of bringing back the fearsome animals will be to help bring the booming number of wild deer under control, which in turn will benefit numerous plants and trees.

Heathland in Suffolk was selected as the ideal wolf habitat, given that the area around Knettishall Heath is relatively quiet with only a few nearby homes and just one primary school.

Wolf in SuffolkOn the prowl: one of the wolves being released in Suffolk

Mr Graham Jenkins, project director at the Wolf Conservation Society, said: “It’s fair to say the wolf has had something of a bad press in the UK, even after they were hunted to oblivion.

“But they can play a vital role in the ecosystem of the countryside, keeping rabbits and the exploding deer population under control.”

Wolf sign in SuffolkHowling success: Sign tells the news

Mr Jenkins added: “The wolves have been reared at a private zoo near Bristol, and will be monitored initially using satellite tracking as they settle into the Suffolk countryside. We urge the public not to be inquisitive and go looking for them.

“If you did encounter one of the Suffolk wolves, do not look scared, turn away or run, as this might, in rare circumstances, encourage an attack. Instead, calmly back away while not staring at the animal directly.

“Perhaps carry a flare gun in the countryside as an added safety measure.”

Local mum Lorraine Fisher, 34, said: “I’m not sure this will be a howling success.”

The public may be encouraged to learn the wolves are not as vicious as the Essex seagulls that have taken over posh Suffolk resorts.

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