Global Wolf educates viewers on the history of the human-wolf relationship throughout the world and follows international wolf researchers as they work to preserve a species once hunted to the edge of extinction. Gesa Kluth, a European wolf biologist, plays happily with captive research wolves as she explains they are quite friendly to each other and the humans they recognize. Her quest is to determine if the German wolf is truly extinct or if there may be hope to revitalize the regional lineage.
In the Yukon, Canadian biologist David Jones joins his friend Steven Frost, a caribou tracker, as they traverse the Porcupine River. The two men hope a caribou migration will result in some wolf sightings. Although Canadian wolves boast a healthy population they are known for their evasive nature. It is therefore a unique event when a wolf presents itself to Jones and Frost, engaging in a conversation of howls with Jones – an encounter that lasts over three hours.
In Russia, wolf rescuer Vladimir Bologov purchases a litter of wolf cubs from the hunters that orphaned them. He takes them to an island where we discover he has established a wolf refuge. Striving to allow the wolves to remain as wild as possible, Vladimir keeps his distance, allowing the wolves to remain semi-wild but cared for in the refuge for a year before driving them as far into the wilderness as possible to be released. Vladimir remains with the wolves for days after release to ensure the likelihood of their survival, and fits them with radio collars so he may continue to track their progress.
In addition to following these specific researchers, the filmmakers take us to India to survey the relationship between the human population and area wildlife, and to more remote areas of Egypt and the Middle East, as the historical conflict between humans and wolves is elaborated upon. While crediting the endurance of wolf populations with their ability to adapt to various environments, it is also explained that their attraction to herd animals and the resulting threat to livestock is what put them at odds with humans as far back as the Middle Ages.
Citing their reputation in ancient folklore and fairy tales, wolves have been used to represent power and threat throughout the world in ways that have perpetuated their near-demise for centuries. Global Wolf offers insight into the complex relationship between wolf and man, the beauty and diversity of wolves, and the part they play in our greater world ecology.