The pack at Camperdown Wildlife Centre in Dundee started displaying ‘abnormal behaviour’ when alpha Loki was put down after he underwent an operation and suffered complications leaving the team “absolutely heartbroken”.
The full statement read: “We are devastated to announce that our alpha male Wolf, Loki, has been humanely euthanised today.
“Despite an initially successful operation, there have been subsequent complications, and the difficult decision was reached to save the animal from further pain.
“The other four Wolves in the pack have been exhibiting unusually anxious and abnormal behaviour since the operation, and it is with great sadness that these wolves have also been euthanised as a result.
“This course of action was a last resort, and our team is absolutely heartbroken. We ask you for your kind consideration at this time.
The wildlife centre went on to thank the public and confirmed it’s closure on Wednesday as the team “processed recent events”.
The statement added: “We thank members of the public who have sent messages of support and for their kind consideration during this painful time for our team.
“We can assure everyone that this difficult decision was taken following expert advice and consultation with the relevant professional bodies.
“Camperdown Wildlife Centre will be closed to the public on Wednesday to allow our colleagues to process recent events. We thank-you for your patience and understanding.”
In a similar incident in 2006, a pack of Wolves was culled at Highland Wildlife Park by operator Royal Zoological Society of Scotland – after the animals stopped displaying “normal behaviour”.
While many expressed sympathy for the park and its employees, others were outraged. The move has sparked an outcry from members of the public with some left angry and branded the mass euthanising as “extreme”.
One local resident has now started a petition demanding an inquiry into why the entire pack was put down.
Online, one visitor wrote: “I’m so sorry to read this news and my thoughts are with all involved but if you wouldn’t mind could more of an explanation be given into why the 4 others were destroyed?
“This is heartbreaking to read and I can’t help but think the public should be given more information to help with understanding this dreadful news.”
“Very disappointed you euthanized all 5,” a comment said. “It seems like the animals weren’t even given time to grieve or acclimatise to the death of their family member. What a tragic loss of life.”
Another added: “I think the Wolves should have been given some time before euthanasia for the whole pack. That seems a bit extreme. Can you please explain just anxiety and abnormal behaviour in a more direct way.”
“We can assure everyone that this difficult decision was taken following expert advice and consultation with the relevant professional bodies,” the park commented.
The way Wolves behave in captivity is very different from what researchers see in the wild, according to the Scientific American.
The “Alpha Wolf” concept is at best misunderstood by the public and is a phenomenon far more common among captive packs than those roaming free, wolf expert L. David Mech told the publication.
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