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Year in Review: Wolves escape after vandals cut through zoo enclosure fence

One wolf died as a result of the incident, RCMP still investigating
A wolf cub called Tempest escaped thanks to deliberate damage to a pen, but was found and is back with its pack. (GVZoo)

One of the strangest incidents of 2022 – one that remains unsolved – is the vandalism to an enclosure at Aldergrove’s Greater Vancouver Zoo that released two wolves into the community for several days.

The break in took place overnight between Monday, Aug. 15 and the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 16.

When zoo staff arrived on Tuesday morning, they found someone had cut through the wire of the wolf enclosure. Several wolves were outside, although most were herded back inside.

Only two wolves escaped left the immediate area of the enclosure – both young wolves, Chia and Tempest – while most of the rest stayed inside the pen, near the pups.

“As a result of this senseless act, our wolf pack has lost two members,” said Menita Prasad, the deputy general manager.

Once the zoo staff finished their wolf head count and mended the enclosure, a multi-day search for the wolves ensued, with zookeepers, Langley RCMP, B.C. Conservation Officers Service members, trappers, and even the Canadian military taking part.

They had their work work cut out for them. The Greater Vancouver Zoo is located in a rural area of northern Aldergrove, and to the west of the zoo itself, across 264th Street, is the large, boggy property owned by the Department of National Defense, used as a radio station. It’s one of the largest forested pieces of land in Langley.

Canadian Navy members from CFB Esquimalt used a Mavic 2 Enterprise drone to help look for the wolves, partly because of a concern for the safety of their members on the nearby radio station site.

But three hour-long patrols in the three days after the wolves escaped were not successful.

Then on Thursday morning, Chia was found dead by the side of 264th Street.

The intervention of some local trappers resulted in a happier outcome for Tempest.

“We set out traps Thursday and caught the wolf Friday morning,” said Tim Killey, president of the B.C. Trappers Association.

Tempest stayed on the zoo property.

The trappers set up trail cams in the area, and captured a photo of Tempest before she was recaptured. They used a foothold restraining trap to get Tempest.

Killey said it meets Agreement on International Humane Trap Standards and it doesn’t injure the animal. He added it’s the trap used most in B.C.

“It was returned to its pen unharmed,” he explained.

Langley RCMP began an investigation into the deliberate damage to the pen, but there were no security cameras facing that area of the zoo.

As of the end of the year, no arrests had been announced.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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