Physiologist and ethologist studying wolf behavior, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Honorary Professor of Ilia State University (Tbilisi) Yason Konstantinovich Badridze celebrates his birthday today, on January 26. Badridze’s famous experiment is well-known far beyond Georgia – the scientist lived in a wolf pack at Borjomi Strict Nature Reserve for two years.

The idea to study wolves in their natural environment came to Yason Badridze when he graduated from the Faculty of Biology of Tbilisi State University in the early 1970s. At that time, he had already been working at the Institute of Physiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR.

The physiologist was preparing to meet a family of five wolves at Borjomi Reserve for several months: he watched them from afar, put pieces of clothing with his own smell on their paths to let the animals get used to him, etc. Later, the long-awaited meeting with the leader of the pack took place. After the first eye contact with the wolf, Yason Badridze could not come to his senses for a long time. The pack accepted him, but the scientist was only an outside observer or “the one who is present” as he called himself.

Badridze used to sleep in a felt cloak, make a fire away from the wolves in order not to disturb them with smoke. He would also help them hunt and sometimes ate meat together with the predators. At the same time, Yason Konstantinovich always points out that he was not part of the wolves’ social system, that is, he neither occupied any place in their hierarchy nor had a certain status. Sometimes the scientist went home to his family and children. When we came back to the forest to meet the wolves, Badridze would let out a long howl ─ fortunately, he learned to howl like a wolf.

Yason Konstantinovich devoted more than thirty years of his life to the study of wolves, created his own methodology for the reintroduction (bringing-up and return) of wolves into nature, wrote many books and articles on wolf behavior. Over the years, upon the completion of his experiment at Borjomi Strict Nature Reserve, Yason Badridze fed and raised more than one hundred wolves.

Photo in the text:

Photo on the homepage: Arkhe Cultural and Educational Center / Yason Badridze: Human in Wolf Pack