Wolves go wild in Kent woodland – where thousands of families can join them in the heart of their territory.
Wildwood are enormously proud to announce the opening of Britain’s most innovative wolf woodland enclosure. A unique two-level woodland feature will allow visitors to venture into the heart of the wolf pack’s lair and experience what it is like to share the woodland with the wolves. With immersive 360-degree panoramic views, accessible to all, thousands of families can join the wolves in one of Britain’s most engaging animal experiences.
Local MP Sir Roger Gale and his wife Lady Gale will officially open the new woodland wolf experience to visitors on Sunday 25th March 2018 at 12.30pm – members of the press are invited to attend the opening and view the wolves exploring their new home.
Sir Roger and Lady Gale are well known advocates for animal welfare and have been good friends to Wildwood Trust since its earliest beginnings and Sir Roger was instrumental in helping found the charity 18 years ago.
Wildwood’s two new wolves, Nuna & Odin, have become a pair over the last year and it is hoped they will breed in the coming weeks. The new wolf enclosure was lovingly created to cater for their every need. Nuna & Odin were brought into the UK from Switzerland and Sweden and are both two years old. The wolves have undergone a long process of bonding under the expert guidance of Wildwood keepers, initially shy and fearful the pair have now formed an inseparable and loving bond.
Paul Whitfield, Wildwood’s Director General, who oversaw the design, planning and construction said:
“Our ranger and keeper team have created a magnificent new home for our wolves. Our vision is to enable people to immerse themselves inside the wolves’ woodland world. The two wolves, Nuna and Odin will found the new wolfpack at Wildwood. They are the same type of wolves that once lived wild in Britain."
Wildwood’s Strategic Director Peter Smith said:
"For many centuries, the European grey wolf, Canis lupus, has been a much-maligned animal – persecuted due to fear, hate and misunderstanding. Today, with a new understanding of the wolf, many myths depicting the wolf as a villain have been dispelled and it is coming to be respected as the awe-inspiring animal it truly is."
"It is the Wildwood Trust’s mission to continue to educate and inspire visitors on the facts about this animal, and their arrival to Wildwood cites the beginning of what will be an exciting campaign and research project. Wolves played an incredibly important role in our history, shaping our own evolution, culture and our landscape. It's a great privilege to have these magnificent animals at our Canterbury site to continue to help us tell their story.”
Wolves were a native UK species long before they were vilified and eventually exterminated in the 18th century. Since then, their behaviour has become better understood and scientists have also discovered the importance of predator species to ecosystems. With new insights into ecology we now know that by reintroducing key species such as the wolves, pressure from the current overgrazing would be eased on ecosystems, as well as improving the levels of biodiversity. Wolves are keystone species, which means they drastically alter the environment around them for the better and can help create a healthy environment for our children to inherit.
The dangers of wolves are vastly overplayed and the presence of wolves in the wilder parts of Britain could do far more good for us and, as wolves recolonise every country across Europe with wolves now living near Paris, in Holland and Denmark, it is only right that we consider their return to the UK.
Visitors to Wildwood can enter the new wolf woodland after the opening ceremony and throughout the Easter Holidays to find out more go to www.wildwoodtrust.org
Notes to Editors
High quality video and photos are available on the day as well as a chance to meet the keepers and staff who have made this project possible. The wolves are under 24 hour surveillance by high quality cameras and it is hoped that the birth and rearing of future cubs will be recorded for education and scientific research.
Wildwood Trust opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and was established as a registered charity in 2002. Wildwood is Kent's best British wildlife park. Home to over 200 native animals, past and present and set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland where visitors can see bears, wolves, bison, deer, owls, foxes, red squirrels, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers plus many more. As one of the leading British animal conservation charities in the UK, Wildwood Trust is dedicated to saving Britain's most threatened wildlife. Wildwood Trust have taken part in many ground-breaking conservation programmes to date, which include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore Kent's most precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse & red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.
Wildwood Trust Herne Common Herne Bay Kent CT6 7LQ