Conservators Center worker looking forward to full, speedy recovery after wolf attack

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CASWELL COUNTY, N.C. — Two wolves are in quarantine after biting a worker at the Conservators Center in Caswell County this weekend. 

On Saturday, the Caswell County Sheriff’s office received an emergency call about wolves attacking a worker. 

The woman bit had injuries to her arms and right thigh. 

“It’s heartbreaking because you’ve got these majestic creatures that they are doing what they as an animal are supposed to do. They are acting on instinct,” said Gail Thomssen, the North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States. 

The investigation report says the employee, who the center describes as a professionally trained fulltime animal keeper, entered the cage of two black North American wolves. 

The report says this is done daily to socialize the animals, but this time the wolves got spooked and the report states that is when the animals bit the worker out of fear. 

It’s the second animal attack in under three years at the park. 

In 2018, a 22-year-old intern, Alex Black, was killed when a lion escaped its cage and attacked her as she cleaned an animal enclosure.

The Humane Society of the United States says a county report regarding Black’s death revealed how unprepared the center was to respond to the incident and believe the center’s safety procedures have not improved. 

Thomssen believes the state needs stronger laws and safety protocols in place to better protect the animals and the public.

“The people that should be keeping these animals in the facilities are those with the correct knowledge, experience, and resources,” said Thomssen. 

On Monday afternoon, the Conservators Center posted a statement on Facebook saying in part:

“The Center continues to have as its top priority the safety of its public guests, volunteers, and employees, and the Center is confident that it provides a safe environment for all who visit and work at the Center.”

They also shared an update from the keeper who was injured:

“I have been receiving numerous inquiries about my condition after the incident on Saturday, so I wanted to let everyone know that I am doing just fine. I have been working closely with wolves for my entire professional career and know that sometimes things like this happen even when everything is done perfectly. I am looking forward to a full and speedy recovery so that I can get back to doing what I have spent years studying and training to do–caring for Rayne and Sitka and all of the other animals at the Animal Park. I appreciate all of the concern that is being shown for my well-being, but I would ask that the media please respect my privacy and the privacy of my family and stop trying to contact us.”

The wolves are being kept at the center for quarantine. Animal control will monitor and then follow up on the 10-day mark. 

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