The wolf that caused local schools to go into lockdown after it escaped from its sanctuary has been safely captured by handlers.
Police said 12-year-old Torak was recaptured unharmed and had travelled around eight miles to Curridge after escaping from the UK Wolf Conservation Trust sanctuary in Beenham, near Reading, this morning.
Teresa Palmer, 62, who founded the sanctuary, helped to encourage Torak into a caged trailer before it was taken back to its home.
She said: “The fact he went through a field of sheep on his way shows he would never be a threat to the public.”
Torak managed to escape after strong winds blew down a fence at the sanctuary overnight.
Beenham School in Reading earlier told Yahoo News UK that they were in “lockdown” after police told them to stay indoors while they searched for the wolf.
Officers were called at 8am on Thursday to the scene near the centre in Picklepythe Lane – which is just over three miles from the Duchess of Cambridge’s family home in Bucklebury.
Tony Roe, who lives near the wolf sanctuary, first learned of the escape when taking his son to Beenham Primary School at about 8.25am.
The 53-year-old, who runs Theale-based Tony Roe Solicitors, said: “We got to the school gate and a police officer was standing outside. I asked if something was happening and she said a fence had blown down at the sanctuary and a wolf had escaped.
“She was making sure the children got into school safely and the gate was secure.
“About five minutes later I saw a police car with blue flashing lights heading towards the sanctuary.
“It was very windy – about 30 or 40 mph. It woke me up in the night.
“Presumably the sanctuary has protocols about what to do in this situation. It’s great the police were there so quickly.”
Mr Roe, whose property neighbours the sanctuary but is separated by several fields, said the wolves are much loved in the village.
He added: “The school’s emblem is a wolf and there is a lot of support here for what they do.
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“We have seen them being walked on leads in the woodland.”
The sanctuary in Picklepythe Lane, Beenham, declined to comment.
Estimates in 2016 put the population of the Reading borough at around 162,700, while the urban area had a population of 232,662 at the time of the 2001 Census.
Sian Champkin, whose husband works at Elstree Independent Boys Preparatory School in nearby Woolhampton, said the pupils were told not to go outside.
The 37-year-old said: “He phoned me to tell me about it because we have a child, a dog and a cat and not to go outside.
“The sanctuary is about a mile away as the crow flies.
“I was slightly shocked, nothing like this has ever happened before.”
Elstree Independent Boys Preparatory School declined to comment.
Founded in 1995, the sanctuary currently has 10 wolves from the Artic and Northwestern breeds, living in four packs.
Two of the packs are from Dartmoor and another from Quebec. The remaining wolves were born at the sanctuary.