Shaun Ellis is an English animal researcher who is notable for living among wolves, and for adopting a pack of abandoned North American timber wolf cubs. He is the founder of Wolf Pack Management and is involved in a number of research projects in Poland and at Yellowstone National Park in the United States.
He has worked with wolves since 1990, and before that he studied the red fox in the UK, and then coyote in Canada.
Brought up deep in the countryside in the small picturesque village of Great Massingham, which is near King’s Lynn Norfolk, he began observing wild animals at a young age, learning to use his sense of smell and sound to find his way at night when studying foxes and badgers.
Ellis first trained to be a gamekeeper, but left the job when the Head gamekeeper found out that Ellis planned to re-release culled animals into the wild. He then joined and served with the Royal Marines.
After he left the Marines he met a Native American biologist at a wolf seminar, and from that meeting he was able to spend seven years living with the Nez Perce Native Americans on their reservation in northern Idaho, United States as a volunteer in a project studying wolves at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. They taught him how to observe wolves, and he was able to get in to a pack of wolves and live among them. He recorded wild wolf howls and gradually learned to identify individual pack members and began to believe that wolves are highly intelligent and instinctive animals that exude trust and balance within the pack’s social structure.
He is the founder and head of Wolf Pack Management at Combe Martin Wildlife Park in North Devon where he works with seventeen captive wolves, which include four pups born on 19 May 2008.There were originally six wolves at the park which he rescued from private ownership. He also regularly gives educational talks about wolves.
In 2005 Ellis spent eighteen months living in captivity at Combe Martin Wildlife Park with three abandoned wolf pups – Yana, Tamaska and Matsi, educating them to be wild wolves and becoming the pack’s alpha male.
Ellis has spent much of his adult life studying and living with wolves and has learned to communicate with them through scent and sound.He currently lives directly outside the wolf enclosure at Combe Martin Wildlife Park, so that he is in close proximity to the wolves at all times.
The research projects Ellis is involved with in Poland and Yellowstone National Park in the United States have the the goal of developing humane methods to discourage wolves from entering areas of potential conflict with humans.
Ellis has stated that he would like to see wild wolves eventually reintroduced into England, where they last lived in the 17th century when the last wolves were killed. Ellis has said about wolves, “Although many people refer to wolves as savage killers, I’ve come to know and love them as family.”