Police hunt massive wolf after mad cow chase

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Wolf spotted in HarthillBy Rory Reynolds

POLICE are hunting what was feared to be a massive wolf on the loose after a member of the public claimed to have seen it being chased through a field by a herd of furious cattle.

Stunned Keith McDowell said he witnessed the bizarre scene while he was walking along the edge of Polkemmet Country Park near Whitburn in West Lothian on Tuesday.

Lothian and Borders Police, who sent a team of officers to investigate, say they have alerted local farmers at locations near the country park.

Mr McDowell, 38, – who is a manager at the government’s Housing Access department – reported the sighting to police because so many children walk through the area.

He said: “I was just having a walk alongside the park when I saw a bit of commotion with the younger calves in the field just across from me.

“I saw something circling the cattle – but at first I thought it was only the farmers dog or perhaps a fox.

“But then the larger cattle began charging right down the field after this animal I think it had been after the calves.

“It came right through the fence onto the road – the cattle were stamping their feet and roaring around behind the gate.

“A small blue car came down the road and slowed down – if it hadn’t slowed down it would have hit the animal.

Wolf

“I was about 30 yards away when I realised it wasn’t a fox – and it was way too big for a dog.

“It was only when I saw the size of it I knew it was a wolf.

“It was silver with a sort of black dark streak along the back and it and quite a bushy tail.

“It was either a wolf or the biggest, strangest looking Alsatian I’ve ever seen.”

He added: “I really thought I hope it doesn’t turn on me – then it turned and dashed off into the park.”

Keith was concerned after the creature escaped into the country park – where families and children often to play.

He added: “When I got home the only thing on my mind that was it was definitely a wolf.

“It was a bit unnerving – which is why I called the police.”

“There’s kids around there and everything – it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Silver coat

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that they are investigating the sighting.

He said: “We received a call from a member of the public saying that he had seen something that looked like a wolf near Polkemmet Country Park.

“The man said that the animal was larger than a dog and silver in colour.

“One patrol car was sent out to look for the creature.

“We’ve also spoken to the local farmer and made him aware of the sighting.”

Central Scotland is home to many sightings of unusual creatures – in particular a variety of big cats and wolves.

Last month a horse was attacked by what was described as a puma near Sundrum Holiday Park in Ayrshire.

Escaped

Richard Morely – Director of the Wolves and Humans Foundation – says he’s sceptical about sightings of wolves around the UK – but admits that wolves have escaped captivity before.

He said: “It is unusual to see wolves in the wild – but there are a number of people who claim they have seen what they believe to be wolves.

“I can tell you that to my knowledge there aren’t any wolves living wild in the UK.

“But if it is a wolf it’s more likely to be escaped from a private collection or a zoo.

“This happened a number of years ago when there was a sighting on the Dartmoor hills – and it turned out to be a wolf that had escaped from a local wildlife park.

“You do sometimes get people who have private collections – I believe 30 to 100 are kept privately in this country.

Illegally

“And there are some that are thought to be kept illegally.”

Sightings of wolves and big cats are often out down to a change of legislation in 1976 when the Dangerous Animals Act came into force to combat the increasing fashion of keeping exotic animals.

Many people released their creatures into the wild to avoid them being put down.

Richard added: “That is often the explanation for a lot of sightings – I don’t deny that there may be wolves out there and I don’t rule out escape.”

SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said that it was unlikely that the creature spotted was a wolf.

He said: “There are no licensed collectors of wolves in the central belt in Scotland – so it is extremely unlikely that one has escaped and found its way to this area.

“If one had escaped, we would have been one of the first organisations to be contacted.

“It may be that whoever reported this sighting is mistaken and may have seen a breed of dog similar to a wolf.

“However, it is also likely that there will be some people who own huskies in the central belt.”

He added that the sighting might have been of an Utonagan – an unusual mix of German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. This is a really interesting story and shouldnt be readily written off. I know because in 1995 I too saw a wolf, in the Cairngorm mountains. Keith McDowell describes exactly its appearance as I saw it. Interestingly the day after i saw it a mountain leader described the same thing around the same area. Thats 14 years ago, with growth its extremely likely that the wolf population is now in the central belt given the wide areas that they cover. Make no mistake Mike Flynn its a wolf. Richard Morely shouldnt be sceptical either but open his mind to the possibility of wild wolfes. At the time of my sighting enquiries were made in the Aviemore area about wolves escaping into the wild but this was categorically denied as there were good controls. Its more likely that wolfes have been introduced illegally into the wild by individuals who would like to see the re-introducion of wolfes into the wild. I know of one such individual. These people should be held accountable by law and punished, if not for farmers, for the sake of the wolf who are no longer indigenous to Scotland.

    • I am a wolfdog breeder in scotland, i know of around 60 wolfdogs in Scotland and some are pretty indistingishable from pure wolves, maybe someone should have suggested this sighting was probably an escaped wolfdog

    • I know a lorry driver who has a photo of a pair of Wolves feeding on a deer at the side of Woods near Forth ( about 5 miles from this sighting ) He swears the photo is genuine and now I see this I believe him.

  2. I stay really close to the Counry Park and my frinds and I like to go out there and play on the new equitment there , I am pretty scared and a bit shakey now,I know a couple of people with huskys but I dont beleive it was one ! . Please keep me infomed if you here anthing else ! 🙂
    Thank you
    abbie 😉

  3. The idea of wolves being reintroduced to scotland is one that i agree with, they were unfairly hunted to extinction and could solve problems such as overpopulation of deer which had crippled Scotland’s biodiversity. I think illegally reintroducing wolves may seem like a good idea to the people at the time as there is not too much chance of them being spotted if they generally avoid humans, settlements and roads however it is unfair on the animals if they are discovered as the law states all alien species (species not normally in the country) that are a threat in any way will be destroyed. So without the legal approval of the government reintroduction will always fail but i feel the government should reintroduce wolves. Problems such as livestock loss can be solved by simple recordings of wolves howling on farms it has been proved and hopefully it is only a matter of time before wolves are a native species again.

  4. Strange co-incedence, but Iwas walking my dog in the Pitmedden Forest, near Cupar Fife, this morning and spotted what I first thought was a large fox walking along the trail about 50 yds ahead of me. My dog was off chasing rabbits and cut back onto the path, startling the ‘fox’. It turned and I got a clearer view of it as it turned and ran. It was grey, much taller than a fox, with longer legs. I’ve seen wolves, jackals and coyotes in the wild on a number of occasions and this beast certainly looked more ‘wolf – like’ than any GSD or husky I have seen. There was no sign of anyone walking their dog in the area. My dog came straight back to me, which was inusual as she generally wants to play and chase other dogs she meets in the wood. Should I advise the Forrestry peple who manage the area?

  5. Lets see more effort to reintroduce extinct native species to Britain. The return of once-extinct wild animals to the British countryside is treated with Byzantine feasibility studies, public consultations, legal wrangling, interminable arguments and meticulous planning. Tthe british are absolutely terrible at getting anything done. People have zero rights to dictate if animals that we hunted to extinction in the middle ages should come back or not. Lets see more land left fallow to return to broadleaf climax wildwood and reintroduce wolves, bison, tarpan, brown bear, lynx and elk to large scale fenced national parks on salisbury plain, dartmoor and alladale. Paul Lister is a hero of nature loving people everywhere. Long may others follow his example and help undo the rape we have commited.

    • But Paul Lister wont ‘Just do it’, He should put his plan into action and deal with the red tape after he has done it. Its his land and European law (which surpasses all UK legislation) states and even encourages re-wilding.

      Its because of the beurocrats that nothing gets done, it was an accidental escape that caused the wild boar to be reintroduced, and its doing wonders for re-wilding in the ares it lives… if we had the bear, lynx and wolf back too, our ecosystem would slowly recover, we might get the nativr forests re-growing (the deer destroy forests).

  6. I have googled this website because I saw a wolf yesterday when we were travelling on the Coldstream road in the borders near Rumbleton Law. The wolf was no more than 5 metres away from me. I have no doubts that this was a wolf as I had a clear view.

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