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UK: Wolf escapes wildlife sanctuary near Reading

‘Do not approach the wolf if you see it’, say police

Jon Sharman

A wolf has escaped from a wildlife sanctuary near a school in Berkshire

Police were called at 8am on Thursday with reports from a member of the public that the animal had escaped from the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Reading.

Nearby residents suggested high winds overnight had damaged a fence, allowing the animal to escape.

The names of the sanctuary’s 10 wolves are Mai, Tala, Tundra, Nuka, Mosi, Motomo, Torak, Pukak, Massak and Sikko, but the trust could not be contacted to confirm which animal had escaped.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Officers have sight of the wolf and are working with staff from the sanctuary to detain it.

“Do not approach the wolf if you see it.”

Sian Champkin, whose husband works at Elstree Independent Boys Preparatory School in nearby Woolhampton, said the pupils have been told not to go outside.

The 37-year-old said: “He phoned me to tell me about it because we have a child, a dog and a cat and not to go outside.

“The sanctuary is about a mile away as the crow flies.

“I was slightly shocked, nothing like this has ever happened before.”

The school refused to comment.

Founded in 1995 the sanctuary, in Picklepythe Lane, Beenham, currently has 10 wolves from the Arctic and Northwestern breeds, living in four packs.

Two of the packs are from Dartmoor and another from Quebec. The remaining wolves were born at the sanctuary.

Tony Roe, who lives near the wolf sanctuary, first learned of the escape when taking his son to Beenham Primary School at about 8.25am.

The 53-year-old, who runs Theale-based Tony Roe Solicitors, said: “We got to the school gate and a police officer was standing outside. I asked if something was happening and she said a fence had blown down at the sanctuary and a wolf had escaped.

“She was making sure the children got into school safely and the gate was secure.

“About five minutes later I saw a police car with blue flashing lights heading towards the sanctuary.

“It was very windy – about 30 or 40 mph. It woke me up in the night.”