FRENCH CREEK – Two gray wolves were euthanized Monday, March 16 after escaping their enclosure at the West Virginia Wildlife Center, according to a spokesperson with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
According to Lawrence Messina, a spokesperson for the DNR, the wolves escaped the evening of March 16 after one of them reportedly damaged the perimeter of the animals’ enclosure, enabling both to escape.
“One of them damaged the perimeter of their enclosure, creating a small gap,” Messina wrote in an email Wednesday in response to follow-up questions from My Buckhannon.
While one of the wolves was located around 6 p.m., the other was tracked after sunset for several hours, he said.
The wolves were euthanized to protect the people, pets and other animals, the DNR says.
“The two wolves had reached a populated area, posing a risk to people, pets and livestock,” Messina wrote. “One was encountered just before nightfall, prompting the decision to act quickly and decisively to eliminate the hazard to that community. The other was pursued for several hours after sunset but eluded recapture, again prompting the decision to keep it from bringing any harm to the community nearby.”
My Buckhannon initally contacted the state DNR Tuesday after several posts were shared on social media by residents regarding an animal or animals that had reportedly escaped from the Wildlife Center sometime Monday.
According to a written statement provided by Andy Malinoski, a spokesperson for the DNR, agency staff and local law enforcement responded, and the decision to euthanize the animals was reportedly made after they were not able to be recaptured.
“In the interest of public safety, a decision was made to euthanize the animals after attempts at recapture failed,” Malinoski wrote. “The action was implemented in a safe and professional manner and provided resolution to the situation. WV DNR staff has completed safety inspections and fortifications of all enclosures at the Wildlife Center to ensure the safety of the animals and the public.”