January 15, 2011

This is actually what Casey wants to do

You've probably seen "Grizzly man" about the guy that lived with bears and eventually was eaten by them. It was probably the most entertaining documentary I've seen, and I'll be honest, I was rooting for the bears to eat that annoying guy.

Meet Levi Holt. He lived with wolves, and unlike that idiot in Grizzly man, he picked a smaller animal.

Like most young children, I grew up with an innate fear of wolves. It wasn't until I was a bit older and saw a wolf in a zoo that I realised how far away this animal was from the mythological creature I'd learned about in books and films.

I grew up in a small village in Norfolk and was always interested in the natural world and wild animals. I knew I wanted to work with them in some way when I was older. In my 20s, I read about an American naturalist, Levi Holt, who ran a wolf research centre in Idaho and I thought, "That's where I want to go." I sold everything I had and raised enough money for my plane fare. When I met up with biologists working on the reservation, they took me on as a basic field biologist, teaching me how to track wolves and collect data for them.

Even though the other biologists and scientists thought it was dangerous, I soon wanted to get closer to the wolves really to understand their behaviour. I couldn't help wondering, "Could a human become part of their family?" If I could, I thought, imagine what information I could share.

Now I think Holt is a little more sane than that Grizzlyman guy. Why? Grizzly Bears are so much bigger than humans, even playing around could be deadly. There's also several documented (more than several) of Grizzly attacks on humans that are just brutal, brutal affairs. While wolf attacks happen, I'm thinking they're probably a lot less severe than bear attacks. You also have to consider that there's also a natural connection between canines and humans that's probably an instinct thing.

I also found this excerpt interesting...

The other time, I wanted to get a drink from the stream and one of the wolves stopped me dead in my tracks, growling, snarling and nipping me. I thought, "This is the end, he's going to finish me off." An hour or so later, he started to lick my face and we both went to the stream for a drink. There I saw evidence of recent bear tracks and droppings, and I realised this was why he guarded me. I would almost certainly have been killed but, more importantly, my tracks would have led back to their young, so it was for their protection.

Animals... they're pretty effing smart.

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