Seacrest Wolf Preserve Asking For Changes To FWC

By: Emily JohnsonJoe Hellriegel Email
By: Emily JohnsonJoe Hellriegel Email

Updated By: Emily Johnson
August 12, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Back in May a wolf escaped the Seacrest Wolf Preserve, because of high flood waters. It was shot and killed by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer. The preserve now has a petition with more than 4,000 signatures asking for changes to FWC.

They held a press conference on the front steps of the Old Capitol today and also presented the petition to Governor Scott's Office.

"We need restructuring in fish and game and other agencies of our state so it brings about a greater and more fair balance that will protect the wild heritage of the wild animals in our state," said Cynthia Watkins, Co-founder Seacrest.

The preserve said the wolf killed could have been contained and that they want an investigation as to what happen.

Two wolves escaped from an area preserve and one is shot and killed. It happened over the weekend after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it had no other choice.

"It's inexcusable," said co-founder of the Seacrest Wolf Preserve Cynthia Watkins.

After heavy rains caused floods in the 15 acre wolf preserve to break down dams and fences, a British-Colombian wolf named Chaco escaped.

"He was tame, he was the equivalent to someone's dog being out, he was just traumatized and frightened and there is no excuse of the murder and atrocity that was committed," said Watkins.

Watkins was the handler of Chaco. She claims the FWC lied to her by saying she would be involved in the capture, but actually was not.

"I was to feed Chaco the oral tranquilizers to relax him and then the fish and game officer was to dart him," said Watkins.

FWC spokesperson Stan Kirkland says, after the wolf traveled about 15 miles north of the preserve next to an elementary school, they had no choice but to kill it.

"We did have tranquilizing guns but there was never an opportunity to do that, the tranquilizing guns are effective only at a very short range," said Kirkland.

Kirkland also says, the wolf was shot from about 50 yards away and that they brought in live traps, snares, and even consulted with a wildlife biologist on the best way to capture Chaco.

"It's unfortunate that the wolf was killed, but there was really no other choice. You could not allow that wolf to remain in the area with school the next morning," said Kirkland.

The other wolf that escaped was captured on the preserve property by the Seacrest Preserve officials. The ares is still in the process of being cleaned up from the flood.

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