What does a wolf do when it finds itself in the middle of an urban area? Maybe daylight is seeping into the sky and people are stirring. The wolf’s instinct is to find a secluded, safe place. So, he plunges into cold ocean waters and swims a couple of kilometres through challenging currents to a small, rocky archipelago.

The wolf probably doesn’t realize this will be his home for the next eight years. A collection of islands with no deer to hunt, no year-round source of water and no other wolves.

He can see densely populated Oak Bay on southern Vancouver Island and hear dogs barking there. Sometimes he howls in return. He watches freighters and kayakers go by and learns to hunt seals, steal goose eggs and dig for water to survive.

But most of all, he learns to live alone. This is very unusual as wolves are highly social animals who live in family groups. No one thought the wolf would stay but, whether by circumstance or choice, he did. And thrived.

Takaya Lone Wolf is a story about a wolf and a woman. The first time Cheryl Alexander heard the wolf howl, she was hooked. The award-winning conservation photographer lived a short boat ride away and began watching the wolf she named Takaya. Personal observations and photographs were augmented by video footage and trail cameras. Before she knew it, she was documenting the life of a lone wolf.

Alexander’s new book provides an intimate glimpse into Takaya’s day-to-day life, as well as the vast beauty and richness of his domain and the wildlife that share it.  The photographer’s persistence and patience also reveals some wolf behaviour that has perhaps never been documented before.

Takaya Lone Wolf is a beautiful blend of stunning photographs with heartfelt words. Alexander invites the reader into a wildness that, surprisingly, can exist close to the capital of British Columbia in Canada. It also raises questions about how humans relate to wolves. The book is scheduled for a September 29 release.

Last year, Takaya and Alexander’s story appeared on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Nature of Things, as well as BBC TV in the UK and ARTE television in France and Germany.

For more information visit the Facebook page TAKAYA: @takayalonewolf.



Takaya: Lone Wolf

In 2012, an approximately two-year old wolf suddenly appeared on Discovery Island, not far from the densely populated municipality of Oak Bay on southern Vancouver Island, BC.

He’d probably dispersed from his birth pack on Vancouver Island and was looking for a mate and territory to call his own. But somewhere along the way, he made a wrong turn and found himself in an urban area. So, perhaps confused or spooked, he swam through challenging waters to a small cluster of islands.

Wolves are highly social animals, so no one thought he’d stay. But, despite all odds, he has. For seven years he’s survived – and thrived – in a location that has no other wolves, no year-round source of water and no deer or other ungulates to hunt.

Cheryl Alexander has followed the journey of the wolf she calls Takaya with her camera and heart for nearly seven years. The renowned wildlife photographer has watched him swim from island to island, seen him feeding on seals and listened to him howl towards the lights of Oak Bay.

On Friday, October 4, the story of this remarkable wolf and woman will air on CBC TV’s The Nature of Things. Takaya: Lone Wolf is an international co-production, which will run on BBC, CBC and ARTE.

Cheryl was a wonderful resource while I was researching Return of the Wolf and I can’t wait to see the documentary featuring her photographs and in-depth knowledge about this unusual wolf.

Click here to view a trailer of the documentary.

Photo by Cheryl Alexander