A Midland dog walker claims he had a chilling encounter with a wolf at the Forest of Dean that left him “frozen with fear”. Chris Howard, from Yorkley, Gloucestershire, was walking his tiny Terrier, Junior, in the woodland when he encountered the fearsome animal.
Chris said he heard a stick snap in the darkness but when he shone his torch in that direction, there was a wolf standing just 15 meters away a week ago on Sunday, March 13. He has now warned others walking in the beauty spot, which is past Malvern and the far side of Worcestershire, to be cautious through GloucestershireLive.
Mr Howard said: “I take my Terrier out every night so we do not come across other people and their dogs. So last Sunday after dinner at 8.30pm I took him for his walk. We were near a residential area about 100 yards away from the houses walking along the ash path, which runs along the wooded area.
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“I heard a crack in the woods thinking it may be a boar. I shone my torch and I saw a wolf with it’s nose down to the ground and then it looked at me. What I saw was one million per cent a wolf. It had a long snout, big head and was well built from it’s neck to it’s rear end.
“Its hair around it’s neck was long and the eyes were white. After he looked at me, he put his nose to the floor and walked off in proud way with a spring in it’s step. When it had turned I saw it’s tail, which was shorter than I had expected but curled and bushy. I love Huskies and I know for certain it was not one of those – it was a wolf.”
The location was only a few miles from where a driver reported seeing a wolf eating a road killed deer in November 2021, according to wildlife experts. It also follows claims that big cat sightings around the M5 in the Midlands are on the increase since the pandemic.
When he saw the wolf, Chris said he was frozen with fear and concerned for his dog’s safety. Chris added: “Junior can be a bit of a one for not coming back when he is called. This time he did so without hesitation. I don’t know if the wolf or the dog had caught wind of each other or not. The dog coming back straight away was really unusual.
“I am not ashamed to say when I walked home I stepped backwards every pace till I got there. The wolf was big, bigger than an Alsatian and was between knee and hip height and as I say, well built. Yes it was dark and I wish I could have seen the wolf clearer. The coloring of it had flecks and brown and black. It’s ears were black and the face was grey.
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“The experience was frightening yet amazing. The creature was a sight for sore eyes and a real beauty. We know there are big cat sightings around here and my brother has seen one. There is such a lot of unusual wildlife in the Forest of Dean and as it has been said there is probably enough road kill for these animals to live off to survive.
“I never thought I would ever experience this lone wolf. I love wildlife and it was such a privilege to see. Just talking about it gives me goosebumps now.” Mr Howard contacted wildlife expert Frank Tunbridge, 74, from Podsmead, to register his sighting.
Mr Tunbridge said: “The location was only a few miles as the crow flies, from where a driver reported seeing a wolf eating a road killed deer in November 2021.
“Often people reading these reports assume this must be a large dog or a wolf-dog which are seen. Let me assure these people that both witnesses are familiar with wild animals, and their behavior and the description and activity that was reported to me on both occasions fits a wolf.
“Predators are usually so secretive in their habits that they are seldom seen most of the year, but during their mating season of wolves from January to March, they cover very large areas looking for partners. They throw caution to the wind and are seen more often at that time. So this could explain the latest report of this wolf spotted close to human habitation in the Forest of Dean.
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“An animal passing through the area in it’s travels, or maybe it is just hungry. Wolves are opportunistic predators, prone to scavenging when necessary or hanging around areas where prey creatures are attracted by human food waste.
“The Forest of Dean encompasses a massive forested area with some parts remote and dense. I am sure a rhino could live there and go unnoticed for quite a while, let alone a wolf or two. The area is also well recorded for big at and lynx sightings too. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to see one.”