Wolf Escapes Zoo Habitat in Cleveland, Leading to Lockdown

by Jon D. B.

“Happening now at the Cleveland Zoo, the wolves have escaped their habitat, and the zoo is on lockdown down mode.”

This is the initial tweet sent out by Fox 8 News of Cleveland reporter Tino Bovenzi at 10:08 AM Monday morning. According to his immediate intel, “guests are being shuttled into buildings for safety,” he continued. “Staff employees are trying to locate the wolves for capture.”

This tweet, however, was deleted within minutes. As the situation unfolded, a few more statements came to light via Twitter, with guests mentioning “code red” calls ringing out across staff walkie talkies.

Clarification on Cleveland Zoo Wolf Escaping Comes from Local Reporter

We now have clarification from another local reporter on the situation at hand:

“Doesn’t sound like it was a roving pack of wolves at the Cleveland Zoo. Single wolf, who may have escaped via trees, and has already been apprehended. Zoo now back open. Waiting for more info from Metroparks spox,” tweets Cleveland Scene staff writer Sam Allard in the immediate aftermath.

Thankfully, all reports point to no visitor injuries during this escape, and the wolf was able to be tranquilized and taken to safety.

If an escape goes awry, it is often the animals that pays the price with their lives. In Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, this would be their resident Mexican Wolves, or Mexican Gray Wolf. This is the only wolf species listed on the park’s directory.

The Mexican Gray Wolf (canis lupus baileyi)

“Smallest of the Gray Wolf subspecies, Mexican Gray Wolves are 54 to 66 inches in length from snout to tail, and their weight is 50 to 90 pounds (22 to 40 kg). Their coat is a varied mixture of tan, red, white, and black fur. They are generally light in color on their lower muzzle, chest, and underbelly, while their head, shoulders and back are darker in color,” the zoo’s website cites of the species.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO MAY 25, 2022. A Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) specimen seen in captivity. A couple of months ago, the Secretary of the Environment also reports the death of two Mexican wolves at the Chapultepec Zoo. On May 25, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo credit: Gerardo Vieyra. Also Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Once common across the Southwestern U.S., these wolves only inhabit the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico today, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo continues.

“Mexican gray wolves are also social animals and live in packs. Packs are complex social structures that include a breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. Wolves within the pack make up a hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals,” the site adds.

All North American wolf species hunt in packs, which may be why initial reports would assume a pack was loose.

The situation is developing, and Outsider will have more as information becomes available.