A video posted to YouTube shows a joyous scene of reunion between a woman and a pack of wolves she befriended at the Polar Zoo in Salangsdalen, Norway . The wolves expressed sheer delight at seeing the woman again after she had been away two months.
The video shows Anita at her return to the zoo after she had previously spent two years socializing with the wolves. Four wolves race towards her excitedly and began fawning over her, behaving more like domesticated dogs than like what they are known to be, fierce predators.
Wolves are such notorious predators and have never been known to be friendly with humans.They are considered to have a natural aversion for humans, showing fear and distrust of humans. This is what makes this scene remarkable. Yet when we recall that wolves are related to dogs we may begin to suspect that the reaction of the wolves at reunion with Anita really is not as amazing as it seems.
The Polar Zoo website gives background to this scene that clears the mystery of wolves fawning over a human being. The website explains: "Wolves are genetically afraid of humans. Therefore, non-socialized wolves in captivity are afraid of humans, and live under stressful conditions. The wolves in Wolf Camp [at the Polar Zoo] are socialized, and accustomed to associating with humans at close range. These wolves are just like other wolves, except from one thing: they don't fear humans, and enjoy our company as a part of their natural environment."
The Polar Zoo's experiment suggests that the notion that wolves are "genetically afraid" of humans is a misunderstanding because this scene would seem to re-enact the circumstances of encounter between humans and wild species of the family Canidae in prehistoric times that led to domestication of dogs and emergence of the dog as "man's best friend."
The status of the dog as "man's best friend" would appear to suggest that members of the family Canidae could be better thought of as having a " genetic affinity" for humans. The distrust of humans wild individuals show can be explained as the natural consequence of uncertainty in unfamiliar encounter setting.