'Shocked and devastated'

Seacrest newest Chacolette

Seacrest Wolf Preserve founder Cynthia Watkins holds the only living descendant of Choco, the rare British Columbian wolf euthanized by FWC officers earlier this week.

Cecilia Spears
Published: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 03:06 PM.

CHIPLEY – Tragedy beget tragedy as Chaco, the wolf missing from the Seacrest Wolf Preserve since April 30, was put down by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers late on the evening of May 4.

According to Stan Kirkland, FWC Regional Media Officer, the commission received a call from preserve owner Cynthia Watkins Thursday, May 1, informing them one of their wolves had gone missing after  flooding created a mudslide that ripped through the middle of the 15-acre preserve.

Kirkland said they received a call Friday, May 2 reporting  the wolf had been spotted near Wausau. Kirkland also said another report was made the following evening that Chaco was spotted back at the preserve; however, Watkins was unable to place a collar on him.

By May 3, FWC officers were still unsuccessful in capturing Chaco with "live traps" baited with hamburger, venison and dog food, according to Kirkland.

Late on the evening of Sunday, May 4, FWC officers received a call from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) informing them an investigator spotted Chaco near Roulhac Middle School in Chipley.

“We responded with several people at sundown, and it was then they made the decision to euthanize the wolf, knowing that the children would be returning to school on Monday morning,” said Kirkland. “We were retrieving the carcass for Mrs. Watkins when we had to assist with another wolf who was trying to get back into the enclosure. We were able to get the wolf safely back into the enclosure without harm.”

Kirkland went on to say the Seacrest Wolf Preserve is a Class 2 Facility and permitted for wolves, which are a Class 2 species. He also stated the facility is currently under investigation but would not disclose the nature of that investigation.

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