WILDLIFE

Hugging with wolves: Chinese businessman spends ¥1 million a year on his passion for 150 wild animals

Yang Changsheng, 71, of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has ignored family’s complaints to run breeding centre using funds from his logistics company

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 December, 2016, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:44pm

A 71-year-old businessman spends more than one million yuan (HK$1.12 million) each year on his 15-year passion – raising more than 150 wolves in a valley in northwestern China, mainland media reported.

Yang Changsheng, of Changji prefecture in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, had used the income from his logistics company to subsidise the running of his wolf breeding centre, the news website News.ts.cn reported.

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He said his family were unhappy about him spending so much time and money on his interest, but he had ignored their complaints and discovered the more time he spent with the wolves, the greater his love for the animals had grown.

Yang looks after eight different species of wolves purely – some imported from abroad and others he has reared himself – and keeps them purely for pleasure and does not sell any of his animals.

He developed his connection with wolves in 1998 when he became upset at seeing a female wolf housed in an iron cage with its paws tightly bound in manacles and chains at the home of his friend, the report said.

He was so concerned about the animal he asked his friend to open the cage so that he could loosen the wolf’s manacles and chains.

Yang was surprised that after the wolf was released from the cage, it immediately couched down at his feet like a pet dog.

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His friend later sent him the wolf and several wolf cubs born a few days earlier as a gift, the report said.

Yang said he enjoyed closely interacting with his wolves each day and was not concerned for his safety.

Over the years he had been bitten only once by a wolf, he said. On that occasion he was rescued immediately by a pack of wolves, which grouped together to attack the wolf that had bitten him.

He said he had suffered a serious injury to his arm in the incident.

Wolves, which can grow up to 2 metres in length and weigh up to 60kg, are native to both Eurasia and North America.

They have been much persecuted and have become virtually exterminated across much of their natural habitat, according to the WWF website.