Hybrid captured with dog-gone good bait

Pennsylvania Game Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials today an­nounced that the agency is at­tempt­ing to cap­ture what is be­lieved to be a wolf-hy­brid that has taken up res­id­ence in Pennypack Park, Phil­adelphia. (Photo Cour­tesy of Cheryl A. Trewella)

A hy­brid an­im­al, part dog and part wolf, that had eluded game of­fi­cials in Pennypack Park for weeks was fi­nally cap­tured on Ju­ly 2.

A hot dog did the trick.

Dan Lynch, a PGC South­east Re­gion Wild­life Edu­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist, said the an­im­al had be­come ac­cus­tomed to eat­ing wien­ers left daily in the park by people who were con­cerned about its well-be­ing. 

“Hot dogs were re­cog­nized im­me­di­ately as our best at­tract­ant and we put them to work. It didn’t take long!” he said.

The an­im­al was cap­tured in a foothold trap on the park side of the 8600 block of Al­gon Ave.

“A vari­ety of ap­proaches were used to re­move this an­im­al from Pennypack Park,” Lynch ad­ded. “We tried tran­quil­izer equip­ment and cage traps, with no suc­cess and so we even­tu­ally op­ted for foothold traps. With­in three hours, it was cap­tured. The an­im­al was out of the trap in less than a minute and was seem­ingly un­fazed by the ex­per­i­ence as it sat calmly in its trans­port pen.”

The an­im­al was taken to the Wolf Sanc­tu­ary of Pennsylvania, north of Li­titz in Lan­caster County, where its health is be­ing as­sessed so it can be cared for prop­erly. The 22-acre wood­land wolf re­treat has been of­fer­ing refuge to wolves and wolf-hy­brids that have be­come own­er­less, and without prop­er per­mits to be kept leg­ally. 

Ini­tially, game of­ficers began search­ing in early June for what they thought was a coyote that had been spot­ted near  Krewstown Road and Al­gon Av­en­ue.

That’s what callers con­tact­ing po­lice and the Pennsylvania Game Com­mis­sion said they had seen, ac­cord­ing to Jerry Czech, PGC’s wild­life of­ficer for Phil­adelphia.

But on June 22, of­fi­cials saw some clear  ho­tos of the an­im­al and knew right away it was not a coyote, but an an­im­al that was part wolf and part dog.

“We think that it was someone’s pet, and either was let go or es­caped,” Czech said in an e-mail to the North­east Times. That happened loc­ally, he said. The an­im­al was not just passing through the area.

How many wolves or wolf-hy­brids are likely to be trot­ting around Pennypack Park?

In Czech’s ex­per­i­ence, not many. He said he’s seen maybe four or five wolves in the past 10 years whose own­ers got them on the black mar­ket. They’re il­leg­al to own in Pennsylvania without per­mits, he ad­ded.

Hu­mans had presen­ted a prob­lem to game of­ficers who were try­ing to catch the wolf-dog, Czech said.

One at­tempt to tran­quil­ize the an­im­al in late June went bust be­cause of the num­ber of people who had come out to see it, Czech said.

“There was a large crowd at the scene. They were co­oper­at­ive in not scar­ing the an­im­al, but just their talk­ing and gath­er­ing was not help­ful, and the an­im­al was leery and did not come out as much as usu­ally.”

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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