Werner Freund, The Man Who Led His Own Wolf Pack, Has Died Aged 80

He was so close to the animals that they would eat from his mouth. Spiegel Online reports that he has died after a short illness.

1. Freund, a former German paratrooper, established a wolf sanctuary in 1972 and raised more than 70 animals over the last 40 years.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

2. Werner had to behave as the wolf alpha male of the pack to earn the other wolves respect and to be accepted.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

With Mongolian wolves.

3. At feeding time, he had to ensure he fed first and would not allow any of the hungry wolves to come near.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

4. The EU regularly asked for his advice on wolf management in those countries where they are making a comeback.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

5. Werner said he was battling the myth of the “dangerous wolf.”

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

6. The wolves, acquired as cubs from zoos or animal parks, were mostly hand-reared.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

7. The sanctuary was home to six packs from European, Siberian, Canadian, Artic and Mongolian regions.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

With Arctic wolves.

8. He was born in Germany in 1933. He said he got his love of animals from his mother.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

9. In the 1950s he worked as a zoo assistant in Stuttgart.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

10. He then spent 20 years as a career soldier.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

11. He once said: “Wild wolves are rarely aggressive towards people. If there are attacks, they get big play in the press precisely because they are so rare.”

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

12. His wife was also a passionate supporter of animal welfare.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters
Lisi Niesner / Reuters
Lisi Niesner / Reuters
Lisi Niesner / Reuters
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Lisi Niesner / Reuters
Lisi Niesner / Reuters
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Lisi Niesner / Reuters
Lisi Niesner / Reuters

With his wife Erika and their cat Max in the living room of their home near Wolfspark.

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

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