Wildlife charity founder from Leatherhead visits hunted wolves
Simon Cowell, founder of the Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead, visited hunted wolves in Russia
The life of hunted wolves has been experienced first-hand by the founder of a leading wildlife charity.
Simon Cowell MBE, of the Leatherhead-based charity Wildlife Aid Foundation, has just returned from a fact-finding mission, in northern Russia, to study the plight of the animals.
The trip was filmed for television series Wildlife SOS and was hosted by biologist and wolf expert Vladimir Bologov, who has made it his life’s work to study wolf ecology, rescue and care for orphaned wolf cubs, and to then release them back into the wild in a ‘safe zone’ where they cannot be hunted.
Mr Bologov’s wolf rescue centre in the Central Forest Nature Reserve, in Russia’s remote Tver region, 500km north-west of Moscow, is one of the few places where wolves are safe.
Elsewhere throughout Russia, hunting and killing the majestic creatures is legal, and is even encouraged, with bounties offered for the capture of wolves dead or alive.
Mr Cowell said: "Many of the wolves at Vladimir’s centre have had to be either rescued or bought from the hunters themselves.
"This is an appalling situation but without Vladimir and his team there would be no-one preventing wolves being wiped out in northern Russia."
He added: "His organization has a similar approach to the Wildlife Aid Foundation in that both organizations believe that wild animals belong in the wild, not in captivity.
"Vladimir’s policy is to ensure that human contact with the wolf pups is kept to the minimum necessary and that the cubs’ time in human care must be as short as possible.
"Pups are released only when they are strong enough to support themselves in the forest.
"It has been a great privilege to spend time with Vladimir and his fellow wolf conservationists. I found him to be a kindred spirit."
The programme will be broadcast later this year on the Discovery Channel Animal Planet.