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(Updated 6/5/01)

Wolf at large

IT’S A situation we’re all familiar with - a much-loved pet dog has gone missing during its daily exercise, you’ve searched everywhere for it, so now it’s time to ask around, get some friends to join you in your search, put up some posters, maybe even place an advert in the local paper.

However, when the pet that has slipped its lead is a Timber Wolf - said to be the size of a small pony - then more drastic action is called for. In this case, a team of 31 police officers, a team of sharp-shooters, wildlife experts and a helicopter formed the search party to find ‘Jakota’, a pet wolf which got away from its owner in Brickendon, Hertfordshire on Bank Holiday Monday.

Jakota may, in fact, be a wolf hybrid, although Hertfordshire police are keeping the animal’s owner’s identity a secret. All they will say is that the owner possessed a dangerous wild animals licence, to enable him to keep a wolf under the terms of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

It is believed that the escape drama began when Jakota had a confrontation with a dog, causing him to panic and run off. Members of the public were warned not to approach the animal as “it may behave unpredictably”.

After leading the large pursuit party on a tour of the Hertfordshire countryside, the animal simply gave itself up.
“The owner called her name and she just walked over to her,” said a police spokesman.

Wolf keeper Danny Winters, who works at the nearby Paradise Animal Park had given officers a profile of hoe the animal might react to her unexpected freedom and what techniques could be used to recapture her.

Park Manager Brian Goody and his assistant also joined the hunt, armed with a rifle and tranquilliser darts.
Mr Winters, 34, is skilled at tracking wild animals by following their prints. His abilities located the wolf within two hours, but it took a further five hours to round it up.

“We finally tracked it down to a field and used the sound of the helicopter to push the animal in our direction.” said Mr Winters.

A police spokesman hinted that the wolf’s owner might face possible prosecution, despite having a licence. “We need to see if the terms of the license were adhered to,” he said."