Akira, trapped and safe!
After 14 months of living wild on the moors, Akira was trapped (again) and finally safe.
Akira, a Romanian rescue, came to the UK (Royton, Oldham) in May 2022. After a few weeks, in June, she escaped from the garden by scaling a 7 foot wall. We humanely trapped her a week later and she was returned home.
Akira would not settle and was very stressed living inside a house. She tried escaping from an upstairs open window and ran at a glass patio door to try to get out.
A couple of weeks later, in July 2022, she managed to escape again while with her owner in Shaw by freeing herself from a metal chain. She was tied to it inside the back of the car so when the boot was opened she couldn’t jump out. Her owner said that she had bitten through the metal chain link and when he opened the boot, she jumped out and bolted.
I set feed stations in the area where she had ran to and thermal scoped every day. Many places were not accessible by vehicle so everyday I would walk to each feed station equipped with lots of food. We postered the area and after several weeks of trying to track her everyday we came to a standstill. There had been about two sightings during the summer in 2022 and it was very difficult to find where she was. By this time I had covered the area with feed stations, moving them around every so often, until it was evident that she was no longer in the area, or even alive. We received a few hoax calls and some we had to follow up, which wasted valuable time.
From when she went missing in Shaw, July 2022, to today September 2023, where she was trapped in Milnrow, we had 6 sightings. With each sighting we would thermal scope the area, set feed stations with remote cameras, and poster the area. Sadly we found no evidence of her being in the areas. This included Smallbridge, Rochdale, Littleborough, Hollingworth Lake and Milnrow.
On the 24 August, 2023, we got the breakthrough that we so badly needed. Dave and Lynn, of Rakewood Rd near Hollingworth Lake, caught Akira on cctv in their garden. They sent some of the footage to us and I visited them to speak to them and to see all of the footage. There was no doubt, it was Akira! Still with her harness on that she had been wearing 14 months ago when she escaped. She looked well and even looked like she had put weight on since I last saw her. The harness was a real worry because it looked very tight on her and looked like it was eating into her flesh. Dave and Lynn was so very helpful. I left food with them which they put out in their garden every night for about 10 days. Sadly though, Akira didn’t appear again.
During this time, Akira was seen by Sammy, on a farm in Milnrow, on the other side of the motorway from Hollingworth Lake. This was 2 days after she had been caught on cctv. Sammy was able to take a photo without getting near her and so we had another confirmed sighting! Sammy had seen Akira before, in the past year, at the same place. I headed to the area and walked, finding the route that Akira would have very likely taken to get from Hollingworth Lake to Milnrow. The sighting on the farm in Milnrow was right at the side of the M62 which was a real worry.
I arranged to visit the farm where Akira had been seen in Milnrow and eventually got permission to place a feed station and remote camera there. When I visited, I found many old and fresh bones on a certain part of the farm. It seemed that I had found Akira’s food source. There were bins there which was obvious that that was where she was getting these bones.
I was not allowed access to the farm after I had set up the feed station but Sammy, who keeps her horse on there, was allowed to replenish the food every evening. I think that I drove Sammy slightly mad with my constant messages and phone calls, asking her to reposition a camera or to increase the amount of food. That first night, Sunday 3 September, beautiful, clever Akira showed herself on camera! I can’t begin to tell you how happy and excited we were to finally have her eating at our feed station on camera.
Akira turned up twice during the night, and continued like this for the next two nights. On Wednesday, 3 days later, the farm began cutting the grass and baling. They worked into the evening and finished late at around 10pm. Sadly, Akira did not turn up that night.
To our relief, she appeared again the following night, on Thursday, at midnight then at 3am. She had a preference for the tinned sardines and each time she fed on camera, she wouldn’t eat much. We believed that not only did she have her original food source with the bones and carcasses on the farm, she had a good supply of food left from daily visitors to Hollingworth Lake. This was a worry for us because in order to humanely trap her, we needed her to be at least slightly hungry.
With having Akira on remote camera footage we were able to observe her closely. Her harness had moved to the side and she had gotten a leg out at some point. This made it even tighter on her and she looked very uncomfortable to say the least. It seemed to be particularly tight and looked to be cutting into her skin especially on her neck and stomach (it was a 3-point harness).
Arrangements were made and permission sought from the farmer to try humanely trapping her on a Friday night, the 8th September. Akira came to the feed station at lunchtime that day which was out of her routine and unusual. That evening we set the trap, I settled down in my car further away from the trap on the farm and Pat stayed in her vehicle just outside the farm. Remote cameras were on the trap so we could observe Akira however, should she trap, I needed to be there at the trap straight away as it was likely that, after living wild for so long, in survival mode, Akira would try to break out and could injure herself. We made ourselves as comfortable as we could, ready for a long night. (It was a worry that Akira, having been trapped previously, would not enter a trap again.) Sadly, Akira did not turn up that night.
We went home the following morning and went back that night, Saturday 9th September. An assortment of food was put into the trap, the same as the night before, in order to entice Akira into it. This included raw steak, raw liver (she had after all been on a raw meat diet for probably the past 14 months), bacon etc. We settled down in our vehicles for another long night.
On Sunday, the 10th September, at precisely 3.21am, the notifications started on our phones from the cameras. Akira had turned up! With our hearts in our mouths, Akira ate the small portion of food that I had left outside the trap then started to circle the trap. She looked into the trap at the opening then circled again. Then she stepped inside, unable to resist the food any longer, and precisely 10 minutes after arriving, at 3.31am, the trap door shut and she was finally and thankfully safe!
Considering that Akira had been living wild for 14 months, avoiding people to the point she was rarely sighted, although panting with stress, she was quite calm once the trap door shut. I sat down next to the trap while I waited for Pat, and eventually Akira sat down then lay down. She was absolutely exhausted. The intense heat of the past week must have been especially hard on her, with having such a thick coat.
When Pat and Sammy arrived (Sammy needed to come to let me drive out of the gated farm) we transferred Akira to a crate. She walked into it willingly and without any hesitation.
When we got the first confirmed sighting of Akira on the 24th August, I contacted Dogs 4 Rescue to ask if they could offer Akira a place at their amazing sanctuary. Akira had proved, over and over again, that she could not cope in a house and certainly not in kennels. It would have been cruel to even ask that of her. Dogs 4 Rescue were the ideal sanctuary for her, where she could roam free but safely. Thankfully, Dogs 4 Rescue agreed straight away to take Akira, after hearing of her history and knowing that she badly needed somewhere like this where she could retain some freedom.
So after putting Akira in her crate and into Pat’s van, we set off to a Dogs 4 Rescue and Akira started the journey to her wonderful and happy future. When we got to Dogs 4 Rescue, Akira was taken inside and we let her out of her crate. She was still calm and wandered around the room. Emma and I began the task of taking the harness off Akira. Because of the thickness of her coat, thankfully the harness, although embedded into her coat, and rubbing her skin, had not started to embed her skin. In another few days this would have definitely started to happen. She has, understandably, very dry hard skin where the harness straps had rubbed her, and mats which we cut off. She must have felt so relieved when that harness, after continually wearing it for 14 months, was taken off. Then, the door to the outside part of Dogs 4 Rescue was opened. However, now, after such a long time of living wild outside, Akira did not want to leave the room! With a bit of encouragement, she soon walked through the door and looked around at the amazing outside compound of this fabulous sanctuary. Akira had been alone, without any company except wildlife or farm animals, for such a long time. She was understandably wary especially when she met gorgeous Chaplin, who, I’ve got to say, stole my heart!
Akira then lay down and, as we talked, and interacted with Chaplin and another gorgeous girl called Bella, she started to close her eyes and fall asleep 😍. Akira, you have caused us a lot of sleepless nights, and an awful amount of worry, but all of it has been worth it to see you lie down, finally safe, in a beautiful place where you will live happily ever after, close your eyes and finally relaxed after 14 months, fall asleep.
We would like to thank everyone who has been on this journey with us and helped to get Akira safe. Thank you to Dave and Lynn for your hospitality, kindness, understanding and concern for Akira. Thank you for allowing me to park at your house on bank holiday when the lake was heaving with visitors, while I explored the area. Thank you for putting food out every night for over a week in your garden to see if Akira would turn up again. You started the process of getting Akira safe and we will be forever grateful. Thank you to the owners of the farm for allowing us to place a feed station and the trap on your farm. Thank you to Sammy, who every night for 5 nights, put food out at the feed stations and changed powerbanks and batteries. Also thank you for taking on the responsibility of letting us on and off the premises, especially at 4am this morning when I woke you up!
And Dogs 4 Rescue, there are no words that justify how thankful we are that you agreed to offer Akira sanctuary space. And of course having to get up at an ungodly hour to greet us and Akira this morning and get her settled.

The first time she was trapped June 2022

Second time she was trapped September 2023