Forestry workers have caught a wild wolf near Badaling, a section of the Great Wall in northern Beijing, ending widespread fear of residents and travelers.
The adult wolf, caught Tuesday afternoon, is kept at a nearby safari park and will be freed in uninhabited mountains away from the Great Wall, said a spokesman with the forestry department in Beijing's rural Yanqing County.
No timetable is available as to when the wolf will be set free. "We'll put it under quarantine for a couple of days to ensure it is healthy," the spokesman said.
Zoo workers said the wolf appeared healthy and was fed raw meat.
The animal was caught at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday with a tranquilizer gun when it was eating bait at one of the traps forestry workers had set in mountains close to the Wall.
"We were certain the wolf was alone. Probably it left its companions to search for food," said Zhang Wenzhu, one of the forestry workers in the wolf hunt.
Rumors that a wolf was wandering near the Great Wall, a landmark for sightseers and mountaineers, caused widespread fear among residents over the past week.
"We set many traps in the nearby mountains last Friday, when we received a digital image of the wolf-like animal shot by a villager," said the forestry spokesman.
"We wouldn't have interfered had it been seen in a remote place," he said. "But this time we cannot put the safety of the Great Wall visitors at risk."
A survey conducted in 2000 found about 20 wolves in mountains in the northern suburbs of Beijing, said Wang Minzhong, a chief wildlife preservation specialist with Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry.
Wang Zengnian, deputy chief of Beijing Wildlife Protection Association, said wolves disappeared from Beijing in the 1950s, but there were occasional reports from individual farmers claiming they had spotted the animal.