A worker was attacked by two grey wolves simultaneously at Caswell County’s exotic animal preserve, the same institution where an intern was mauled to death by a lion just over two years ago.
State authorities are reporting another animal attack at North Carolina’s Conservators Center Tuesday. The incident, which took place over the weekend, involved one of the preserve’s workers. Identified within as Haley Quay, police reports state Quay was within the wolves’ enclosure attempting to “socialize” two young grays: Sitka and Rayne.
Things quickly took a dangerous turn, however, when the two wolves clamped down onto both of Quay’s arms. Before the attack was over, she would sustain bite wounds to her right leg, as well. It is worth noting that this attack seems to be defensive on the wolves part. If the greys wanted Quay dead, she would not have lived.
Thankfully, Quay survived the incident. As is the case with many carnivore conservationists, she plans to return to her work as soon as possible.
“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,” Quay says in her statement on the incident. “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.”
Quay’s treatment for her wounds took place at UNC Hospitals Hillsborough. But Conservators Center’s last victim was not as fortunate.
Conservators Center’s Wolf Attack Follows Young Intern’s Mauling
Alex Black, a young intern at the preserve, was attacked by one of their lions on December 30, 2018. Unlike the seemingly-defensive nature of Quay’s wolf incident, Black would be viciously mauled to death after the lion was able to escape its enclosure.
After attempts to get the lion, known as Matthai, to release Alex, “NC deputies eventually had to fire eight shots to kill Matthai,” local WRAL reports.
Tom Black, the late Alex’s father, spoke to the news outlet Monday of this latest attack, just over two years after his daughter’s death on preserve grounds.
“I’m a little in shock,” Tom states. “I feel for the people that are working there because this is another incident that someone that they work alongside has been injured. You have to have a heart for that kind of work. [And you] don’t get into that job to make a bunch of money; you get into that job because you feel for those animals,” he continues.
He declined to comment, however, when asked whether or not this second attack calls for the Conservators Center’s closing. WRAL cites Black is “confident his daughter would feel the same concern for the staff and the animals.”
“My heart goes out to those folks – the person that was injured [and] the relatives of the person that was injured – because I’ve been there. I understand how they’re feeling,” he concludes.
What Happens to NC’s Conservators Center Now?
“At no time during this incident was any member of the public in any danger,” says Conservators Center’s executive director, Mindy Stinner in a new statement. “The center continues to have as its top priority the safety of its public guests, volunteers and employees… The center is confident that it provides a safe environment for all who visit and work at the center.”
Initially declining to comment, public pressure is causing Stinner to address any and all concerns.
“Caswell County Animal Control was also called. And the juvenile wolves have been quarantined for 10 days… Just as would be the case for any dog that bit a human,” she adds.
As for the preserve’s fate, North Carolina’s Labor Department is currently investigating the wolves attack. The report, however, will not be complete for “several months.”
The incident comes at a critical time for wolves in North Carolina. The state is currently attempting to release more members of the all-but extinct red wolf into their native NC forests.