Why do some people feel capable of abandoning society to live amongst wild animals?
Many feel deep compassion towards our fellow creatures. They wish to promote the conservation of endangered species by understanding them better.
Others wish to study various species in order to understand how they live and interact. There are yet others who possibly feel misanthropic so prefer the company of animals.
Below we will learn about such individuals.
Individuals who have abandoned modern civilization to live with wild animals:
1. Timothy Treadwell
Every summer for 13 years, Timothy Treadwell would live amongst wild grizzly bears in Alaska. His parents recall that he was always a great lover of animals. As a child, he kept a squirrel as a pet.
When he left home to go to college, he appeared to become troubled. He became involved in drugs and alcohol and started to make up lies about his childhood.
After a heroin overdose, he turned his life around and devoted it to animals. A close friend of his encouraged him to make it his life work, in order to start his life afresh.
Treadwell developed a passion for grizzly bears and sought to study them up close. He formed “Grizzly People“, an organization to protect these bears. A documentary film created by Werner Herzog called “Grizzly Man” came out in 2005. “The Grizzly Man Diaries” were also created by Treadwell himself.
Tragedy struck in October 2003 when a bear mauled Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard to death. He had stayed amongst the bears well beyond when it was safe.
During autumn the grizzlies are more hungry than normal and willing to prey on humans. Herzog lamented that he always felt concerned that Treadwell had a “death wish“.
During his time living in the Katmai National Park, his defensive protection of the bears prevented poaching. Sadly, after his death, bears began to be subject to poaching yet again.
2. Dian Fossey
Most people know about Dian Fossey due to Sigourney Weaver’s depiction of her in the film “Gorillas in the Mist“. Based on Fossey’s own book, the world got a glimpse into the story and scientific research of this incredible woman.
Fossey was a passionate primatologist.
She was one of three primatologists employed by anthropologist Louis Leakey. Fossey worked with mountain gorillas, Jane Goodall with chimpanzees, and Birutė Galdikas with orangutans. He dubbed them the “Trimates“.
Her love for animals came from a loveless childhood. She had divorced parents and an authoritarian step-father. Consequently, she developed a passion for horse riding and eventually planned to become a vet.
After a trip Kenya, she fell in love with the wildlife in the national parks, particularly gorillas. Already a fan of Jane Goodall, she met Louis Leaky and he enabled her to begin her life’s work with these giant primates.
She would only leave her beloved group of gorillas about once a month to restock on food. But otherwise, she became a devoted member of their tribe.
Fossey did much work to prevent poaching, and this sadly may have been the reason someone murdered her. In December 1985 her research assistant Wayne Richard McGuire discovered her body. She had a machete wound to the head.
During her years living amongst the gorillas, Fossey made many scientific discoveries. Her legacy remains in her gorilla protection program named the “Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International“.
3. Diane Boyd
Diane Boyd has returned to an office job in society, but only after 20 years living in the wilds with gray wolves. From 1979 she helped bring back these eradicated animals to the northern United States.
Professor Bob Ream began the “Wolf Ecology Project” in 1973. He employed Boyd to keep track of female wolf, named Kishinena, they had electronically tagged. The plan was to coax her over the border and create new descendants.
Boyd had to show extreme passion for this work. It entailed living in a remote cabin with no running water, no electricity, and no telephone line. Her deep love and idealism for the reinstatement of the gray wolf gave her the fortitude.
Luckily for Boyd, she had always been comfortable in the wilderness. Even as a child, she would seek out places in the city which resembled the wild.
Her work was highly successful. Kishinena managed to begin a new pack. Boyd still protects this legacy within civilization, in her role at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 1. She now works as a wolf management and carnivore specialist.