Wolf man and Biomimicry

I caught a fantastic documentary on Discovery today, which related to the book I’m reading at the moment, Biomimicry.

The doco was about a guy named Shaun Ellis, who left his family and life in society to raise a pack of wolves in captivity. It’s a long story, one that is better capturedhere by ABC news.

Shaun Ellis - Wolfman
The interesting part to me, was the amount that Ellis had learnt from the wolves, and how he was applying this to life in civilisation. One such example – for years we have been shooting wolves for encroaching on the land of farmers. This has always been understandable – given they often kill young livestock, which costs the farmer financially. In Poland, where a law was recently passed preventing the shooting of wolves, farmers have become financially ruined by the constant presence of the animals. Ellis, convinced there was a better way to prevent the wolves journeying to the farms than just shooting them, put his knowledge to work and came up with an innovative solution.

He went to a farmer who had approached him for help, inspected the property and investigated the wolf pack which dominated the territory. Once done, we created a CD of wolves howling in a ‘defensive/territorial’ way. He got the farmer to play this – once daily at dusk over his farm using a normal CD player and an amplifier. End story – the wolves have not attacked in months.

It raises a great many questions. But the theory behind listening to the problem and then solving it as nature would is immensely powerful. The very reason the wolves have a defensive/territorial call in the first place is to ware off other packs. Makes perfect sense. The scientists (boffins) applaud the idea in theory, but require more specific research to be convinced. Sigh.

2 thoughts on “Wolf man and Biomimicry

  1. He was also on 60 minutes a few months back. All of the ads for he show depicted him as some totally wild man, but then the segment explained that he was just a zany scientist who was learning some cool stuff.

  2. Yeah, I do vaguely remember that – I remember the add. The Discovery Channel doco was probably the full length version (or something similar) to that shown on the 60 minutes program.

    It is very interesting stuff – especially learning from the evolutions (read…continuous improvements) that nature has undergone in the last million + years.

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