Teller Wolf Escapee Recaptured After Freedom Run

“One-eye Jack” To Be Transferred To Another Wildlife Facility

~ by Bob Volpe ~

An endangered, male yearling Mexican Wolf, who escaped an enclosure at the Colorado Wolf and
Wildlife Center (CWWC) in Divide in mid-November, was discovered last week and successfully recaptured.

The animal, known as “Jack,” is safe, according to officials, and only incurred a slight leg injury. However, he won’t be returning to the wildlife hub in Divide.   

The wolf escaped confinement on November 11 the day it arrived to take part in a captive
breeding program. Jack, in fact, apparently went on a freedom run.

After the capture, CWWC gave a statement about the successful recapture. “Jack, Mexican Gray pup, has been captured!! Approximately 10 p.m. on December 11th marked exactly one month from the time he
escaped. It is quite a miracle that he was still alive being that he was a yearling who lived in captivity, had only one eye and on his own for the first time in his life. CWWC is relieved and grateful for the
overwhelming support of our Teller county residents. Also special thanks to the people who called in with leads, to the (supporting agencies) USDA, CPW, USFW, Teller County animal control, Teller County Sheriff Department, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Dr. David Volz DVM.”

For the first time since his escape, CWWC officials explained how Jack made his escape. They said, “He managed to scale the fence with an overhang and escaped through another secondary perimeter fence.”

The wolf, who was referred to originally as “m1593” by a breeding organization in California, was later renamed Jack, because he is blind in one eye. (One-eyed Jack) Jack was on the loose for one month to the day.

During his month of freedom, Jack was spotted near Gillette Flats, near Cripple Creek, and he then made his way north near Teller County Road 51 (Cedar Mountain Road), where he was finally caught.

Before Jack was recaptured, founder of The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, (CWWC), Darlene Kobobel, gave a heart-felt message to those who support the center and the efforts by the community and agencies involved in helping to find Jack. She said, “I want to start out by thanking everyone for your overwhelming support for Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center during this very difficult time. This situation has hurt me mentally and has affected me physically through intense stress.”

When Jack was captured by officers from the USDA and USFW agencies, he was transported to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where he was medically treated for an injured front leg. His injury probably resulted in the rough terrain of the Teller high country. He has since been transported to a facility for further evaluation.

Colorado State Parks and Wildlife, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Species Survival Program, the Mexican Gray program, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Teller County Animal Control and veterinarian
Dr. David Volz also have been involved with the captive-breeding program.

John Oakleaf, Field coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, said, “The wolf’s right front paw is injured, and veterinarians are treating it.”

After the wolf recovers, he said, it will be moved to another wildlife center rather than risk having it escape again from the facility in Divide “Once wolves have something beat, they’ll test it again,” Oakleaf said.

The Mexican wolf is considered endangered. It is a subspecies of gray wolf that was once common throughout the Southwest United States, but was nearly eliminated from the wild by the 1970s. Since the start of recovery efforts, the population has grown to 114 in the wild through captive-breeding programs like the one at the center in Divide, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Shortly after Jack’s escape, TMJ News initially contacted Rob Vernon, Senior Vice President, Communications & Marketing for AZA and asked if the incident would threaten their relationship with CWWC. Vernon replied, “The answer to your question is ‘no.’ The Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is not in danger of losing their certification with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. We know the staff is doing everything they can working closely with authorities to locate the wolf.”