A captive wolf in Minnesota had to be euthanized after it was allowed to approach a young girl and bit her. The wolf was owned by Lee Greenly of the Minnesota Wildlife Connection, a business that sells photographing opportunities. Paying customers have the opportunity to take pictures of wildlife in a naturalistic setting and can pay an additional fee to be photographed with animals like bear, cougar and wolves.
A photography session of an adult wolf and pups was taking place in a Minnesota state park when the adult wolf approached a four-year-old passerby, knocked her down and bit her. Luckily the girl's wounds were minor cuts. Unlucky for the wolf who was euthanized following the incident.
Minnesota Wildlife Connection claims to be in compliance with licensing agencies including USDA (would fall under an exhibitor of the Animal Welfare Act, overseen by APHIS), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
According to Minnesota DNR, permits for possessing endangered species are approved for a variety of reasons such as captive breeding for release and education. The Minnesota Wildlife Connection could only fall under the "when the social and economic benefit of the taking outweigh the harm caused by it" category. After this incident, I would say the harm to the animal that had to be killed is not less than any economic benefit to the business.
Local authorities feel that with the euthanization of the wolf the incident requires no further investigation. If the safety guidelines and licenses/permits were properly administered, it's hard to understand how this situation could have happened. Unfortunately it was the wolf who paid the price for human negligence. A thorough investigation into the operations and facility of Minnesota Wildlife Connection is in order.
Photo by Kristi Herbert