Takaya did not come from a safe place. Wolves are hunted and trapped like vermin in British Columbia, Canada. Takaya, with good fortune and his innate intelligence, managed to make his way from the wilderness, through the suburbs of a city, to a group of small islands that were a safe haven.
Our family house is near the islands and I go to the islands by boat often to photograph nature. My name is Cheryl Alexander, and I met up with Takaya soon after he arrived on the islands. I will never forget the moment I first looked into his eyes.
After that intense first encounter, I went out to those islands at dawn, at dusk, whenever the weather would permit for six years. Throughout that time I photographed and filmed Takaya as best I could, to document his stunning resourcefulness and his inspiring life. Over time I grew to admire and love this wolf.
Although only two miles from the city, Takaya prospered on the islands. Without any deer or small land mammals available, he learned how to hunt seals, to fish and eat goose eggs. To dig for water. And to deal with the humans who came to the islands.
Takaya had his own territory. He had ample food. Takaya lacked only one thing: a female. He made his needs clear with howls that echoed across the islands and the city.
At the start of mating season in his tenth year, Takaya left his island haven. It is not clear why. His journey was eventful and, in the end, tragic. He was killed by a hunter for no reason other than that he was a wolf.
I recorded Takaya’s life for six years. Then I engaged with Gaby Bastyra and Martin Williams of Talesmith Productions, acclaimed documentary producers in London, UK, who took on the challenge of producing a documentary based on my observations of Takaya. In 2019, the documentary Takaya Lone Wolf was released in three versions: on CBC The Nature of Things, BBC and Arte (French German network). Takaya’s story, in film, had a profound impact. Takaya has become the world’s most iconic lone wolf. He has entered the hearts and minds of many.
Please note that the CBC film below is only available to viewers in Canada. In order to purchase this film for screening in other countries, networks should contact Cineflix Rights International.
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Takaya has been in the news since his arrival in the islands in 2012. Initially he lived much below the radar but eventually events triggered more intense media coverage of his life. Some of the most detailed coverage has been in Europe, with journalists reporting on his story for many renowned media outlets.
Takaya has, over time, become the subject of visual arts, songs, poems, folk art, books, ‘howl’ vigils, classroom projects and social media threads. He has become an iconic folk hero and is increasingly revered and loved around the world. Tributes to Takaya are powerful and illustrate the impact his life has had, and continues to have, on a diverse range of people with differing cultural, social and economic backgrounds.
Takaya is an incredible ambassador for his species. He has given us a rare glimpse into the life of a wild predator and allowed people around the world to better understand and respect the nature of the wolf. People have fallen in love with this wolf. His legacy will be to change hearts and minds.
In the ocean, the Orca (the ecological equivalent of the wolf) is vigorously protected by the Federal government, as are other marine mammals.
On land, the Provincial government has jurisdiction, and takes the opposite approach with the apex land predator: it encourages the killing of wolves. And these wolves are killed in a variety of ways, most of which are inhumane, unethical and gratuitous. Despite the fact that wolves are a native species and have lived in a sustainable way with their prey for millennia, the province’s goal is to reduce the wolf population so there will be more deer & elk for hunters. That policy lead to the death of Takaya and a thousand other wolves this past year.
It is time for the Province of British Columbia to end their policy of encouraging the recreational killing of wolves. It is time for British Columbia to stop their lethal exploitation and culling of wolves in the name of protecting other species such as caribou and elk. There is no valid economic or scientific evidence to support the killing of wolves. Culturally, we are beyond this very primitive kind of behaviour. Please sign this petition to get British Columbia to change its wolf policy. The government regulations must now reflect the values and wishes of the majority of the population who support an end to recreational and misguided culling of wolves.