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Man dedicates his life to caring for wolves at special sanctuary

Zoesnow_thumb By MissT | September 12, 2013 | Comments (3)

Wolf-kissing-man_large

Wermer Freund with one of the wolves at his sanctuary. Photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Werner Freund has a rare relationship with wolves. He cares for 29 wolves at his sanctuary and has dedicated over 40 years to their well being. The wolves accept him as one of their own and for Werner, that's the way it should be. "You can’t domesticate a wolf," Werner told the Telegraph. "I had to become a wolf." The wolves view Werner as pack leader. "To earn their respect, one must become a wolf, and that is what I am to them – their leader," he said.

The former German paratrooper founded a sanctuary (the Werner Freund Wolfpark) in Merzig, Germany near Luxemburg. The wolves are from all over the world and include Arctic, timber, grey and Mongolian wolves, who live together on the 25 acre park. Many of the wolves were hand-reared by Werner, and come to him as cubs from other animal sanctuaries.

Wolfman with his pack
Photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters

Werner (the "Wolfman") is 80 years old and has spent the past 40 years trying to educate people about wolves and how they are not the menaces as depicted in fairy tales.  "Wild wolves are rarely aggressive towards people. If there are attacks, they get big play in the press precisely because they are so rare. No, there is far more danger to wolves from man than the other way around. That is why the release of them into the wild will always have its limitations. There is a limit to habitat and prey, which is why farmers will always lose some sheep to them, and road traffic will take an annual toll on them."

Werner said, "Fairy tales, that’s what gave them a bad name. Red Riding Hood and all that. These are beautiful animals and the person who says they shouldn’t be in the wild might as well not care about what happens to the elephant on the plains of Africa. We are all enriched by their presence, by the simple fact that they are among us.”"

Read more about the "Wolfman" here.

Wolfman with his pack
Photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters

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Comments on this Article

Seeing that he is 80 years old and has been with these wolves for 40 years, since birth or a young age, I wonder what will happen to the sanctuary when he passes. I hope that he has a plan for another person that the wolves trust to carry on his legacy with these beautiful animals.
I wonder if spending so many years in the company of wolves has had an effect on Werner's longevity. There are many his age in nursing homes. Assuming that these pictures are recent, it's pretty amazing seeing him there sitting in the snow surrounded by wolves. I hope he trains an apprentice to learn what he has learned to carry on his legacy.
Wonderful man! Domestication of wild animals is for the sole vanity and selfishness of humans and nothing more.
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