Would you like to know how wolves live by staying in their pack? Well, it’s proven that they can accept people who learned to behave in a right way. Meet a zoologist Jason Badridze who grew up several generations of wolf cubs and taught them to escape hunters and people in general.
Jason Badridze is a cult figure among ethologists. He has lived in a wolf pack for several years and managed to transfer important knowledge to the wolves and borrow the animals’ culture. What he says reminds of a fairy-tale making us remember those times when people and animals could understand each other. When Jason was a little boy his father often took him for camping. After the boy heard the howl of a wolf he was fascinated by it and his life changed forever. Having become a scientist he decided to stay with wolves for a couple of years to understand their mode of behavior as dogs lost many behavioral features. First, he found a path that was widely used by one group of wolves.
He waited for white baby linen to absorb his body odor and left its pieces on the road. Wolves are scared of everything new but feel like investigating it. First they ignored the linen pieces but later started tearing them apart. Soon they didn’t even mind eating meat from these pieces. 4 months had passed and Jason decided to meet the wolves. He waited for them on the path and coming back wolves approached him very close checking his reaction. Jason wasn’t going either to attack or run away. He passed the test when the animals understood he had no weapons with him. But it took long before they could accept the man.
Wolves understood that Jason’s presence could save them from jacklighters. The main thing was to be accepted by younger she- and he-wolves. Second year wolves just followed their parental example while small cubs didn’t have any idea that usually men stay apart from wild animals. These animals rest a lot getting ready for hunting. Younger wolves play from time to time. They support one another eructating obtained food. The food is covered with mucus that prevents it from decomposition and is widely used by older wolves, she-wolves that can’t hunt after delivery yet and small pups. Wolves share functions while hunting: the first of them runs, the second is busy with herding, third one lies in wait. They use telepathic communication looking into each other eyes and imparting thoughts about a hunting scheme to others. Jason learned to understand them as well, it was enough for him to look into a wolf ‘s eyes to find the way and help him in hunting.
Only every 4th hunt can be successful. They also hide their meat but never remember the place it was hidden at. The meat is always found by cubs who won’t be hungry due to that. Cubs need to be taught hunting. Otherwise they can kill a rat while playing and die from hunger next to it. Wolves react to blood and tend to follow moving objects but it’s not hunting. If an untrained wolf finds himself among sheep he will be in shock because he has no idea that it’s food that surrounds him. Some families can hunt only one animal for example a deer and ignore others.
Wolves can count till 7 and foresee the results of their actions. They keep thinking all the time and are capable of using positive hunting experience in future. Cubs are first given plain meat that is followed by meat covered with skin. When they are 4 months old they know what deer’s meat looks like and can run following traces. They never repeat mistakes that were made once. The family sees some changes from time to time.
Thus, one young wold was forced to leave the pack due to his ill nature. An aggressive animal unit will never find a mate and that’s how the aggressive gene is removed. As soon as a wolf group grows too wide, conflicts arise. Then only the dominating members will stay in a pack and others will have to leave. They can join another small group but have to be careful as approaching one’s territory can be fatal. When an old wolf dies a younger one waits for a month to occupy his place being scared of the death odor.
Many cubs die before they reach the age of 1 year due to injures and infections got in a fight. They help each other all the time and once saved Jason from a bear. While attacking bigger animals they don’t think what can happen to them, they only try to save members of the family. However, they never save cubs from humans understanding that it’s better to be deprived of a new generation than of a breeder. It’s wrong to think that they hawl at the moon. They are just fascinated by a full moon and use the time to communicate with others. At the same time they obtain information about status and emotions of others animals. Once Jason came back to a civilized life for a while and soon found out that 54 wolves were killed in the forest including the family he stayed with. It was very hard for him to hear that. The area was captured by wild dogs. He tried to domesticate other wolves later but they were never so close to each other any more. That’s how he decided to practice reintroduction to get wolf offspring in captivity who could be capable of living outside later and hunt.
While raising a wolf cub it’s necessary to follow several rules. First, they need to massage their mother’s lacteal glands during feeding not to become frustrated in future. Second, if the hole in a dummy is too big it they will keep eating all the time as small cubs don’t feel they are full. It will lead to bulimia later destabilizing relations in a group. Third, cubs can’t be raised outside the nature and need to be taken to the forests as often as possible. Jason taught cubs hunting and had to grow a beard so that they stopped to mistaken him for other hunters.
He fed them with roe meat. One successful hunt is enough to sharpen their inborn skills. When pups are 5 years old they can use last experience and create logical links. The skills can’t be developed outside the wild nature because thinking requires severe emotional stress. He taught the wolves to escape domesticated animals such as sheep, horses and others and be scared of unknown people.
The wolves were wearing a special collar under voltage. As soon as they were close to a sheep or a peasant from the nearby village they were given an electric shock and ran away. American electric dog trainer appeared 2 years after Jason’s publication. He also supplied his wolves with small radio-transmitters to know where they go. But military men took the collars and transmitters away thinking a new code was invented.
Those cubs grew up and got offspring. Jason made all of them wear steel collars where it stated that he was ready to pay any hunter who could catch the wolves a sum that exceeded the money given by the state twice. But no wolf had ever been brought. Moreover, local hunters were saying that had never seen wolves in the forests which means that the animals learned their cubs how to avoid people. When he came back there 9 years after that, his former cubs who were 13 years old that time recognized him. They started playing around and yelled like they did when they were small. Jason says that was one of the happiest moments in his life.