Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Grey wolves get a new home at Longleat in Wiltshire

A pack of European wolves has made its home at Longleat in Wiltshire. Credit: Longleat

Grey wolves used to be a common sight in Britain but died out in the Middle Ages through hunting and the loss of forests. Now they're back at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.

The pack is made up of dad Jango, mum Eliska, as well as their six pups who were born at the Safari Park eight months ago. Keepers are hopeful that Jango and Eliska will breed again and expand the pack. They moved into Wolf Wood on site early in 2019.

  • Watch: "Wolf Watching"

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Both mum Eliska and dad Jango were first-time parents and we weren’t sure how well they would be able to cope with such a relatively large litter.

We needn’t have worried as they’ve both been extremely attentive and very caring and the pups are now virtually fully grown.

Historically we have always kept Canadian timber wolves here at Longleat. However, due to their age and the fact we cannot introduce new wolves into the existing strict pack hierarchy, the group size has declined over the years.

We decided to re-locate the remaining pack to an area away from the drive-through Safari to live out their twilight years and re-introduce the European wolves.

– Eloise Kilbane, Keeper

Eloise adds, "There’s something truly special about seeing a species, which was once common here in the UK, back patrolling our woods,”

The wolves are most active at night or in the early morning. Credit: Longleat

Wolves are usually most active during the night or early morning. During the day they can often be found curled up under trees. Visitors might be able to spot the younger members running around and play-fighting. In the wild, this would help pups learn essential survival skills.

  • The wolf pack can be seen on the drive-through Safari at Longleat
6 miles
Distance that a wolf's howl can be heard
10x
Wolves can take down prey ten times their size

Even though you can’t see the wolves after dark, you may be able to hear them. Their howling can be heard up to six miles away. Despite the fairy tales, humans aren’t the wolves’ ideal dinner and howling isn’t usually related to hunting. Wolves actually howl to make their presence known and warn off nearby packs.

Wolves are formidable predators. They can take down prey that's up to 10 times their size because of their pack hunting techniques and incredible stamina. They also have extremely powerful jaws, which can generate twice the pressure of a German Shepherd dog’s, and 42 teeth – perfect for hunting and eating meat. In the wild, favourite food items include deer and wild boar.