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

18 Replies to “Takaya: Lone Wolf”

  1. bon­jour cheryl ALEXANDER

    je me prénomme MICKAËL et je suis FRANÇAIS .
    J’ai suivi la vie de TAKAYA dans votre re­port­age sur la chaine ARTE ( je l’ai re­gardé plusieurs fois en boucle ) tell­e­ment j’étais ému sur la re­la­tion que vous avez in­stauré avec TAKAYA .
    Je vi­ens d’ap­pren­dre qu’un chas­seur la tué et croyez moi en écrivant ce mes­sage , des larmes me coule sur mon vis­age car mon surnom que mes amis mon don­né est ” the wolf”.
    Voila ‚pour vous je suis un in­con­nu mais je voulais me joindre à votre chag­rin pour la mort de TAKAYA , Qu’il était mag­ni­fique avec ces hur­le­ments qui me faisait héris­sé mes poils tell­e­ment il était mag­ni­fique en appelent une com­pagne .Pouvez-vous me dire si dans le re­port­age , la femelle vu dans le re­port­age avait réussi à re­joindre TAKAYA ? et pour­qu’oi ce chass­seur la tué
    Cordialemnt MICKAEL

    1. Yes, I too was saddened by Takaya’s death. He was an icon­ic wolf and will be mourned and re­membered by many.

      And, I am not Cheryl, if you wish to reach her, google Cheryl Alexander. I be­lieve she has a pho­to­graphy web­site and Instagram page.

  2. watched the Takaya doc.…recently on BBC.…LOVELY TO KNOW THAT he has been left in PEACE & the tribe who own the islands/​heritage lands etc…requested that he be left in peace…AS he is a FABULOUS EXAMPLE OF INNOVATION & RESILIENCE.…go Takaya.…at least he has cheryls com­pany & an ap­pre­ci­at­ive buddy & observer…to whom as her man ob­served, has brought a WHOLE NEW DIMENSION TO THEIR MARRAGE & ZEST FOR LIFE
    would be g8 If a fe­male buddy did appear…but seems unlikely…given the swim.
    he is an al­pha dude & his know­ledge of isle existance wld have kick star­ted an al­tern­at­ive mari­time isle tim­ber wolf tribe…WOW .
    WISHING TAKAYAMOONSUN& SEA BLESSINGS.

  3. I missed this show and very in­ter­ested when it will be air­ing again.
    Any fu­ture broad­cast dates set?
    Thank you,
    Jill G.

    1. Hi Jill,

      If you google The Nature of Things Takaya Lone Wolf you should be able to find the doc­u­ment­ary. It may be up on YouTube also.

  4. Hello Paula,
    I en­joyed watch­ing the doc­u­ment­ary of Takaya. He seems very calm and en­joys his time alone. I love how Cheryl is not afraid to be around him. It’s nice to see he ac­cepts her! Do you know if Cheryl is still vis­it­ing and doc­u­ment­ing? Also, I won­der if she thought about put­ting a fe­male wolf on the is­land so he could start his own fam­ily? Has there been any more fe­male wolfs in the area?
    Thank you!
    Sincerely from Vicki- an an­im­al lover!

    1. Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for your com­ment. Cheryl has a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with Takaya. Most of her ob­ser­va­tions are done from a boat or with mo­tion-sensor cam­er­as to avoid Takaya be­com­ing ha­bitu­ated. Habituated wolves – those that have lost their war­i­ness around hu­mans – can be­come bold and can of­ten end up hav­ing to be destroyed. 

      It’s il­leg­al for any­one oth­er than a wild­life of­fi­cial or po­lice of­ficer to trans­port wild­life. Also, Takaya’s ter­rit­ory is really too small to sup­port a pair of wolves and their off­spring. As far as I know, no oth­er fe­male wolves have been any­where near Takaya. As sad as it seems, he has lived there for sev­en years alone and will likely con­tin­ue to do so.

  5. Thank you so much for find­ing Takaya and be­friend­ing him. He is stunning!
    And you’re an amaz­ing wo­man and photographer.

    1. Wow! Just saw this CBC spe­cial in Takaya. Thank you Cheryl for shar­ing your ex­per­i­ences, pho­tos, videos and sound re­cord­ings of the amaz­ing lone wolf Takaya. Updates on the lone fe­male would be greatly appreciated.

    2. I am also hop­ing for up­dates, I looked to see if there was a face­book page but could not find one. Would love to know if he has a new mate, how he is do­ing etc. thank-you, Connie

    3. Hi Connie,

      As far as I know, there is no web­site or Facebook page for Takaya. At the mo­ment, he’s liv­ing much as he has for the last sev­en years, hunt­ing, rest­ing and patrolling his small ter­rit­ory. No mate and, the more time that passes, the less likely it is that the fe­male wolf spot­ted on Vancouver Island near Discovery Island will swim out to join him.

      For up­dates, I sug­gest you oc­ca­sion­ally google Takaya Lone Wolf. The search will turn up any new entries on my blog and any oth­er pos­sible news about this unique wolf.

  6. I lived in Sooke,BC, from 2006 to 2012.
    I had a me­di­um sized dog that I would reg­u­larly walk at the Whiffin Spit…Around 2010, or so, a wo­man brought a beau­ti­ful, wolf- look­ing puppy down to the spot. She told me that she had im­por­ted the puppy from Northern Alberta, she told me he was 95% wolf…I watched the puppy turn into a big dog. The wo­man was los­ing more and more con­trol over him. I was wor­ried for my dog even­tu­ally be­cause he would come on very strong for playing…but, he was much stronger than he realized.…
    Last I saw this wo­man, she could­n’t con­trol him and he was jump­ing on her shoulders.He be­came about twice her size and she had him on a very thick rope. Before, she tried to so­cial­ize him by let­ting him run free around our do­mest­ic dogs. She was yelling at him in the park­ing lot to get into her truck.
    I thought, what was she think­ing when she ad­op­ted a wild wolf?
    Could this be Takaya?
    He was about 1 12 years old that last time I saw him.

    1. That’s an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion, Myriam. The be­ha­viour you de­scribe is typ­ic­al of a wolf or high con­tent wolf-dog. Their needs are much dif­fer­ent than a dog’s and, once they ma­ture, they are of­ten sur­rendered to sanc­tu­ar­ies or euthanized. 

      I don’t be­lieve the an­im­al you de­scribe and Takaya are the same. For one thing, Takaya is not ha­bitu­ated to hu­mans like the an­im­al you saw. And, al­though it would have some in­nate in­stincts re­gard­ing hunt­ing, it would also be used to hav­ing food provided and most likely have a dif­fi­cult time sus­tain­ing it­self. Also, I read that some of Takaya’s fur was tested and the DNA sug­ges­ted he came from the Campbell River area. Wolves wear­ing ra­dio col­lars have been tracked trav­el­ling from north of Campbell River to Sooke. When Takaya first ap­peared he was around two years old, which is fre­quently when wolves dis­perse from their nat­al pack to find a mate and start their own pack.

      Paula

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