'Wolf Man' Lives With Pack in the Wild

POST 991

Here is a most unusual story about a man who pretty much functions as a pack member with his three wolves.

‘Wolf Man’ Lives With Pack in the Wild. AOL News.

There is going to be a National Geographic Channel documentary on it April 16.

Update on April 10. Here is a more complete story. A Man Among Wolves. By Bob Brown. ABC News.






  1. Vicki Avatar

    Boo. I doubt that these wolves have been gebuinely raised the same way they would have been if they’d been raised by other wolves. I don’t beleieve that Ellis can just flip a switch and become human or wolf at will. We shouldn’t be misled. The simple fact remains that we are trying to co-exist with wolves. Not become them.
    I applaud Ellis’ efforts, and believe his heart was in the right place. But I haope this documentary isn’t counter-productive. I hope that anti-wolf groups doesn’t use this man as an example of what “raving idiots” supporters of wolves are!!!!
    We aren’t. I believe the majority of us would like to be acknowledged as intellegent cictizens who have a valid opinion. And, we’d like to be taken seriously. I’ll watch and see, maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by this documentary.
    I remember watching a movie called Never Cry Wolf as a child. I remember thinking that the researcher in the movie was both wise, smart and a little nuts. But the movie did touch my heart…. here’s hoping for the best.

  2. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    It seems to me that this is a story about a reseacher gone ferrel.
    It will be interesting to watch the documentary.
    The thing that struck me the most were the photos of the wolves in the story. They are very different than the wolves of the GYES. I have a video on “The Great Spirit Bear Rainforest” also done by Nat’l Geo. They appear to be the same species of Canis Lupus.
    I have been enjoying the show “Planet Earth” on the Discovery Science channel on Sunday evenings. Excellent photography! There was the coolest fox…the Tibetan Fox, it had the eyes of a wolf and a big square head. Appeared to be a mix of Fox, Wolf, Coyote. Really something to see.

  3. skyrim Avatar

    This is just nuts! What could possibly be learned here that would be of any serious value when it comes to research?

  4. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    Even though a researcher who goes wild finds out more than conventional scientists about the lives of animals it is a danger to the person . . . I am really glad this man is doing this as it will open some doors for us, but I worry about him, not because the wolves will hurt him, but he will evoke strong negative emotions from people who worry that non-human animals will invade their lives, or visa versa. We have a segment of society who have illogical reactions to this kind of study. It is almost a phobia . . there must be a word for it – Anyone know it?

  5. Joe S. Avatar

    sounds like a great idea…worked for Mogli in Jungle Book…you should all give it a try!!!!!

  6. Moose Avatar

    I don’t think this ‘experiment’ will provide much useful scientific data on wolves in the wild. There is an old adage in anthropology that you immediately change what you are observing once you become part of the study.


    I have no clue what you are getting at in your last three sentences. Can you expound further?

    Where is this guy located?

  7. Drew in GA Avatar
    Drew in GA

    Google his name for more details and his location

  8. chris Avatar

    There’s a chance the article is misrepresenting what the documentary or individual is all about. For one thing, it doesn’t describe him as a biologist or researcher. I do hope they give ample time to the real biologists, or if he is a real biologist, to more “traditional” biologists.

    It’s hard to imagine someone getting more info by “joining” wolves than by observing them act naturally with eachother like David Mech and Rolf Peterson have done so well.

  9. Vicki Avatar

    I agree. I too hope that they give biologists a moment to clarify the behavior that they will be showing the world.

    I also wonder how this man just happened upon three orphaned wolves. Perhaps he was a researcher of some sort prior to this?
    I am also hoping that children don’t watch it and become frightened. Even though I know of no report of wild wolves ever having attacked a human, there are still those people who have hightened paranoia about wolves. This may feed that mistaken stereo type of wolves being aggressive and unselective mosters… or maybe it will show that they mean us absolutely no harm. Either way, this guy was lucky not to get caught between two sets of fangs. A feeding animal is a feeding animal, wether you are familiar to the animal or not.

    It also may send the message that it’s okay to interact with wild animals. That is a dangerous message to send to people.

    Then again, maybe anything that sparks interest is worth airing. It’s like the saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” If you believe that… I guess it’s all speculation for now.

  10. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    would you consider numbering each post of a thread as it makes it way easier to reference an individual post especially when one person has numerous posts on a particular thread? Again thanks for making this all possible.

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Let me try. WordPress automatically numbers the posts. For example this post is no. 991, but for some reason this numeric ID doesn’t show up where readers can see it.

  12. wytammic Avatar

    Yes Ralph, please number the threads — I think we are past 10 now.

  13. Jay Avatar

    The next Timothy Treadwell…when he gets bit–and he eventually will, because wolves bite each othera…they’re wolves, afterall–people are going to say, “see, look how vicious those damn wolves are.” He’s not doing wolves any favors.

  14. mikarooni Avatar

    I’m afraid that I see these kinds of antics as playing right into the hands of our enemies and at a time when we can least afford it. Yes, Pombo is gone and the rightwing is wounded; but, the Supreme Court is tainted and unpredictable right now and, with Bush a lame duck, with the ’08 election a good solid electoral memory loss away for all except the hardcore base, and with little to lose in mixing it up, the rightwing may well see making a media stink over the ESA to be in its best interests. This is no time for our own lunatic fringe to shoot us in the foot… again.

  15. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    he claims he spent nine years with the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho. Ralph Do you have any contacts with the tribe to verify that?

  16. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I will try to find out. Levi Holt, mentioned in the comment link, above, is a major figure in the Tribe

  17. Michael Wolf Avatar

    To be honest, I’m really taken aback at the reactions to this story. Very little is known here, but assumptions are rampant. I think we should wait and see what this is about before making judgements.

    I have had personal experiences with wolves, both hand-raised, and captive-wild. In my experience, the behaviors were nearly indiscernable, save for the fact that the hand-raised wolves were tolerant of people; almost as though they saw them as part of the pack in some cases.

    I have had the opportunity to interact with both captive-wild and hand-raised wolves. I found little difference in their behavior and in fact, found their behavior quite predictable, once I realized the hand-raised wolves did behave like wolves that is.

    I find the idea presented in this documentary fascinating. Having worked closely with wolves myself, I am curious to see how this documentary turns out, and to see if the observations made are in line with those I have made myself in my interactions with wolves.

  18. Michelle Avatar

    Here is the National Geographic website that has a lot of information and video footage, as well as interviews with him. I’m not sure what I think of it, but I would like to watch it. Doug Smith is in the trailer so I am interested in hearing what else he had to say about this.


  19. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    I’m sorry Moose . . I guess I thought here we have another Treadwell, but I didn’t want to say that out loud. Just the name Treadwell brings us some really nasty stuff and I didn’t want to pick that scab. . . I have read a little more about this now and I think he is not at all the same. Controversial for sure but not fanatic . . . interesting stuff so far.

  20. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    He is another “Treadwell”. One more person who is willing to subvert the wellbeing of wildlife in order to satisfy personal fantasies about being one with nature. His example will only fuel more ridicule from anti-wolf extremists and encourage the Hollywood Bambi crowd. He may not be consciously exploiting his relationship with these wolves but the end result is the same. Why is it that no one lives with porcupines or badgers to study their ecology…not cute enough?

  21. elkhunter Avatar

    how can u say its not fanatic? He puts his dinner in plastic bags and eats them out of the carcasses that the wolves are eating! That is fanatic! 😉 If its not, I would like to know what is!

  22. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    How about eating the carcass itself 😉

  23. elkhunter Avatar

    That would be considered insane I think! 😉

  24. Jim Avatar

    It’s great that he is passionate about wolves but he and everyones else needs to be reminded that he is not really living with wolves. Captive wolves aren’t really wolves. Genetically they may be but wolves are animals that live in the wild, that hunt and kill and mate and are hunted and killed. He is living with partially tame animals and animals that are acclimated to having at least one human around.

    He is not doing anything that hasn’t been done at many other wildlfie facilities and also with wild wolves. And I don’t believe that his research will be completely valid because he must be the alpha of that pack or he would get killed. He should try being the omega or a subordinate for a while to make his research complete.

  25. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    How can one teach the pups to hunt, when there is no hunt? Do the pups understand the ability to seek out the weak? Do the dance of death? He is talking stickly social structure. I feel he established a role quite easily on the captive pups by being the gamekeeper; he had to bring them food, then he role played the alpha. Wonder how he will teach them about domainating the alpha female from the beta’s during breeding season? I feel the wolves would have learned all this on their own without his influence, especially the howls. From the information on him this was more for his benefit than that of the pups. Maybe he did learn a lot by wanting to be a wolf about wolves. Clearly this was a controlled environment. I would really draw the line at calling this science. Interesting human behavior though.

  26. Mike Lommler Avatar
    Mike Lommler

    The 2nd article Ralph posted says that he actually did end up becoming a subordinate. In fact, I’d say that the 2nd article is much more useful period. He’s got some interesting ideas on preventing ‘depredation’.

  27. Nancy Fernandez Avatar
    Nancy Fernandez

    Can you tell me if there is or will be a box written about the wolf man? I saw him on your show and found it very interesting. Thanks.

  28. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    After watching the NGC special last night. I found his dedication to the species admirable. He really met the challanges. I think now, knowing and understanding his ultimate goals, he has a lot to contribute to the science community. Doug Smith said, “There hasn’t been a study on howls.” So hopefully what he has done will expand the learning process, and contribute greatly to the protection of domestic animals. I think we will see more on his defensive howl theory. Maybe there will be an article on this theory being tested by a Montana rancher in the near future. Or maybe the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho. Any word from Levi Holt on the subject?

  29. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I have talked with a lot of biologists now, and the general feeling is that this fellow is not helping matters.

    As far as the idea of playing howls to deter wolves from livestock, I was reminded that howling by humans is used to bring wolves closer, as in the case of “wolf control,” so they can be more easily shot.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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