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The Call of the Wild
Shaun Ellis with one of his wolves
Shaun Ellis with one of his wolves.
A Devon man with an extraordinary passion for wolves believes he has mastered their language.

Shaun Ellis is one person who's been nominated as a 'Local Champion' in the South West.
BBC Spotlight's Clare Casson meets Shaun Ellis:
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Shaun believes he has mastered the language of wolves and communicates with them through posture, facial expression and vocalisation.

He lived for nine years with wolves as part of a study with native American Indians in Idaho.

Shaun is passionate about wolves and regularly gives educational talks in Devon.

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Shaun Ellis, from Plymouth , has spent many years living with and studying the behaviour of wolves.

Mr Ellis is an expert in the complicated sight and sound system used by wolves to communicate with each other.

He has spent years integrating himself in a pack of wolves at a wildlife park in Linton, Cambridgeshire.

Shaun has dedicated much of the last 12 years to researching the lives of wolves and has written the book The Wolf Talk.

One of six wolves owned by Shaun Ellis.
He currently owns six wolves which are kept at the Coombe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur park in North Devon.

The wolves were rescued after being in private ownership.

"What people think of as a savage creature is in fact very well-balanced and if you are part of their pack they will not cause you serious harm," he explained.

Shaun believes he has mastered the language of wolves and communicates with them through posture, facial expression and vocalisation.

"It is a very simple language, as their world is far more complete than ours," he said.

His book chronicles some amazing experiences working with wolves across the world and a seven year study in which he lived with the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho.

Shaun Ellis
Shaun believes he has mastered the language of wolves.
Shaun would like to see his findings used to allow wolf and human to coexist without conflict.

Using their own methods of communication, wolves can be encouraged to stay away from areas where they might clash with man.

He's now hoping to set up a breeding programme so that some can be released into the wild in Poland.

Shaun hopes that if a more controlled wolf population can be introduced in Poland it could help to reduce attacks on livestock as well as protecting wolf packs.

Shaun says "it's a fantastic honour" to have been nominated as one of the BBC's South West Local Champions.

The campaign aims to highlight the work of people who are not always publicly recognised.

All photos courtesy Shaun Ellis.

First published: 28th March 2004

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