Did you know that there is a wolfman who lives among 29 wild wolves has become the alpha male of the pack.
The wolf has long been a creature of terror and mystery. With its sleek fur, fangs and spine-chilling howls, it’s the things of nightmares and fairy tales that finish badly. however the animal is creating a comeback on dry land Europe, notably the gray wolf, when centuries of human mistrust that has driven it to the brink of extinction. From the Balkans to the forests close to Berlin, and from the heel of Italia to the outskirts of Praha, wolves square measure roaming wild over again as a part of rigorously managed programmes to halt their decline. Last month night-vision cameras picked up a pack of gray wolves simply fifteen miles from the centre of the German capital, moving stealthily through the country in pursuit of prey.
For one man, however, the wolf and its come back may be a cause for celebration instead of worry. Werner Freund, associate 80-year-old former German soldier, has spent the past forty years determined to dispel the negative myths that surround the animal. called the werewolf, Freund runs a sanctuary within the tiny German city of Merzig close to the border with Luxembourg, wherever he walks freely among twenty nine wolves, carrying associate previous parachute smock reeking of fat and blood. Kevin Costner might have enjoyed a light-weight celluloid foxtrot with them within the Hollywood film Dances With Wolves, however Werner transforms himself into the alpha male of the pack. “To earn their respect, one should become a wolf, which is what i’m to them – their leader,” he says.
mpressed by his dedication and data, animal consultants from round the world beat a path to his door, as well as Monty Roberts, the first “horse whisperer”. The EU asks for his recommendation on wolf management in those countries wherever they’re creating a comeback, and Werner is well known in books and documentaries in his native land.
It’s straightforward to visualize why he’s thus extremely regarded. Every day, as dawn breaks over the twenty five acres of the Werner Freund Wolfpark, the still air is split by the howling of Arctic, timber, gray and Mongolian wolves – the newest addition to the Freund family.
The wolves smell him before they see him. Then they howl – initial one, then another and another – the solid ground reverberant to a visceral sound that may instill worry in several, however not in Werner. For these square measure the cries of animals he has devoted his life to. As he approaches the Canis lupus tundrarum enclosure, he bays reciprocally and that they answer him, tails wagging like labradors on the brink of go walkies. He enters their domain clutching chickens and lamb chunks – breakfast – and is rewarded with loving licks. ne’er mind that their jaws will exert one,500lb of pressure.
One wolf that has unbroken its distance finally comes over. it’s a minimum of 100lbs in weight and over six feet high once it rears au fait to its hind legs. it’s a creature with associate air of clear authority, the alpha male of the pack. however once Werner is around, it looks to recoil, clearly recognising its master.
For Werner there’s nothing remotely evil regarding the wolf. “Fairy tales, that’s what gave them a nasty name,” he says gruffly. “Red Riding Hood and every one that. These square measure lovely animals and therefore the one who says they shouldn’t be within the wild would possibly in addition not care regarding what happens to the elephant on the plains of continent. we tend to square measure all enriched by their presence, by the straightforward indisputable fact that they’re among United States.
“There can invariably be cattle taken by them. there’ll invariably be ‘incidents’ owing to their proximity to man. however truthfully? you’re additional probably to die from meeting a mythical creature than a true one. They don’t need to understand regarding humans. they need to try and do their own factor.”
Several years past this tiny man of modest manner and uncontrolled enthusiasm walked into the mayor’s workplace in Merzig to inform him of his plans: a wolf park that may be absolve to everybody and wherever the creatures might live out their days as nature supposed.
The pitch worked, and currently Werner’s wolf park, engineered ashore given by the federal agency, may be a major attraction in Merzig. The packs move in their sequestered enclaves in a very vast wooded space, fed by native slaughterhouses that present meat, supplemented by the odd cervid shot by a hunter, or a roadkill swine.
“I battle to strip away the parable of the ‘dangerous wolf’. Look, dogs round the world kill lots of individuals a year and bite millions additional. Dogs have lost their worry of humans, the wolf hasn’t. I solely get near them as a result of they grasp me; a alien couldn’t do what I do.
“Wild wolves square measure seldom aggressive towards individuals. If there square measure attacks, they get huge play within the press exactly as a result of they’re thus rare. No, there’s much more danger to wolves from man than the opposite manner around. that’s why the discharge of them into the wild can invariably have its limitations. there’s a limit to environs and prey, that is why farmers can invariably lose some sheep to them, associated road traffic can take an annual toll on them.”
Werner wasn’t invariably a wolf man. Born in FRG in 1933, within the same month that Nazi came to power, he grew up within the wolf-denuded country close to Frankfurt on the Main to a family of foresters and shepherds. “I got my love for animals from my mother,” he recollects. “To her all animals were sensible so I ne’er had any worry of them. She ne’er told Pine Tree State stories regarding the massive dangerous wolf.”
He trained as a gardener however in 1950 his love for animals player him to the menagerie in Stuttgart wherever he became a keeper for the larger predators. in addition as wolves, Werner became a good fan of bears and was photographed smooching a lion, obtaining up near a canine and befriending a catamount for the native newspapers.
He had a spell within the border police before shift to the recently shaped Bundeswehr (army) of European nation, wherever he spent ensuing twenty years as a career soldier.
The army gave him day off to hitch expeditions abroad, fifteen of them all told, to a number of the foremost remote spots on the earth. On one among them he eaten a parasite from uptake raw snake, necessitating associate emergency operation to avoid wasting his visual modality at a London hospital.
In 1962 he married Erika, aka “Mrs Wolfman”, World Health Organization has been his life partner and emotional supporter of his animal causes. the primary wolves they noninheritable , within the Seventies, were cubs from zoos and animal parks. Most of them were hand-reared by the couple, providing a novel bond that turned them each into the “parents” of the kids. “I had to become a wolf to bond with the wolves,” says Werner. “That is that the solely thanks to gain their trust.”
As the day began, so it ends. For wolves, darkness is that the time for searching, for killing. typically Werner can dress their meat ration up within the kind of a papier mâché sheep that the animals will tear to items as if it were real.
He stops at alittle dominion next to his log-cabin home, wherever 2 feminine Arctic wolves howl in anticipation at his arrival. that they had to be separated from the pack as a result of there have been too several females and therefore the alpha male was turning into aggressive towards them.
“They want a person,” says Werner, as they lick his face and scramble for his fondness. “They look nice, eh? however ne’er be entirely fooled into thinking these square measure simply huge dogs. they’re wild animals and invariably are.”