Namaste' all, it has always been accepted and taught , that wolf pups that have been hand reared, without wild parents teaching them all the ins and outs of being truly wild, (including hunting large game) cannot be released back into the wild.
In Russia there has been a study occurring on an island. The documentary is called "Island Of The Wolves" Three pups, taken from a zoo and released into the wild, surviving without parental support, having not been taught to do so by wild parents.
I am viewing this with great scepticism for now, as I see nothing that states they learned how to hunt big game on their own successfully, it only takes you through their first year, so I have not been able to garner enough info. still to judge the results.
I know have taken some of mine out for hikes, and they even so much as see a cow, horse or wild buck, they are dragging me home, let alone viewing such scary monsters as lunch. It talks about already being successful in hand rearing and release with great success on this page, http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack
I am left wondering why I have not heard of such a thing until now? I also wonder if the pups bought from hunters were old enough or had already learned necessary skills to survive on their own already, and were not thoroughly socialized to humans. I cannot find where they state age ranges here of attained pups for wild release?
But then I found this footnote on this page http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack ****The Centre has 19 animals spread out among three enclosures.***** Thus my scepticism that the majority are actually are returned to the WILD, to be WILD wolves again.
Seems more like a fun documentary of baby wolf growing up in captivity still, and three zoo wolves being the stars of this *show* but having a bit more adventures along the way within reason of the human handlers, I mean an island? talk about FUN!
The video footage is cute! and now that I know about it, will be looking into this *study* more closely.
Looking more through this site's pages carefully http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/island and watching the videos, I can see that this is a captive wolf facility that are studying, and trying different things with them.
But truly *wild* they are not, not anymore than my own are. I see quite a few wolves still within confines of metal bars.
If someone attains wolf pups at an older age, where they have learned enough basics of hunting large game via their family, and the pup has the natural fear of man, then there is good chance for re-release back into the wild. Injured older wolf pups, needing true rehab comes to mind, where there is no contact with humans at all, as they are nursed back to health to be released.
I think however, until I see actual paper scientific proof that very young pups hand reared, and socialized to humans are safely released, without them possibly causing trouble in the future, due to their habituation to those humans, I will remain a little doubtful, that the pups won't still rely on those humans that reared them to some degree. Now, this is not to say that wolves even if not raised by wild parents, cannot hunt. The instinct to give chase and kill is hardwired within wolves, this instinct will come out all on it's own, whether captive or wild reared. A wolf will grow up naturally testing those around them, (other pack members, and prey animals in their environment,) Those hardwired instincts growing stronger as the animal ages. But typically a wolf that has not learned the precise hunting skills, to be utilized in the *wild,* by wild parents, will not have as clean as kills, and be as *successful in their hunts. Wolves are on average only succesful one out of ten hunts as it is. So if a farmer calls me up and I find the cow has multiple injuries throughout, and the kill is an absolute mess, there is pretty much the entire carcass still there, or the animal is still alive, but simply tortured to near death, I tend to lean more towards a feral dog or dog pack) having done the deed.
I enjoyed seeing the footage of the wolves in another country, so far away, and their approach, and the why's to this facility. (Would love to visit!) However taking young pups pulled from their moms, that were already in a zoo as is stated, not out of the wild as in wild orphans quote: from http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack ((((four pups from Tambov zoo and three pups from St-Petersburg zoo. )))) does not save them from poachers, these particular pups were/ are captive wolf pups taken in by another captive facility, and reared as such. That is the meat and potatoes of it.
But what this Program does regardless, is bring attention to the plight of poaching
TV series exposes brutality of wild animal trade
Poachers threaten ecology of Russia's Far East
New penalties for paoching in Russia
Poaching occurs worldwide, and keeping with this blog, occurring at an alarming rate in Russia! Any program that has such good intent, is also helping to bring about awareness and hopefully change.
Also for fun, here is a picture taken by Judy Wood of my arctic wolf pup eco soul journey, this was taken in our past spring when she was ten months old *yup there was still snow when spring hit up here*