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Another side to the big bad wolf

Generations of children brought up on stories like Little Red Riding Hood have grown up believing wolves to be dangerous and evil. But when pupils from Yardleys school in Birmingham came face to face with two North American timber wolves, that perception changed.

In recent weeks, pupils in Years 7 and 8 have written poems and essays on wolves in English lessons, and created Wolverhampton Wanderers FC badges in design and technology. They have studied statistics on wolves in maths, researched their habitat in geography and listened to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Then they met Duma and Dakota, two sister wolves from the UK Wolf Conservation Trust.

Pupils had to extend their fists towards the wolves so they could pick up their scent, after which the youngsters could touch their unusual visitors.

"We were told not to touch the wolves' faces or backs as this would be seen as a threat," said Majid Ali, a 12-year-old pupil at Yardleys. "I was really nervous when I saw their big sharp teeth, but I like wolves now. I grew up scared of them but I have learnt that they are more scared of us."

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