Takaya, world-famous lone wolf, shot and killed on Vancouver Island
Documentarian says she’s devastated; hopes for a change in hunting laws
A wolf that lived alone for years on a tiny island near Victoria was shot and killed by a hunter this week.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said in a statement that the male wolf, named Takaya, was killed on Tuesday near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island, approximately 50 kilometres away from where it was released in late January.
Cheryl Alexander, a documentarian who has followed the wolf's life for nearly seven years, said she's "fluctuating between absolute rage … and this intense sorrow that this remarkable wolf's life has ended in such a senseless way."
She said she was notified Wednesday from a friend who has connections to the hunter. She knew it was Takaya after learning the number found on the wolf's yellow ear-tag.
Takaya was caught in the back yard of a Victoria property in January after it swam to the city's shore from nearby Discovery Island, where it had been living alone since at least 2012.
Conservation officers believed it left the island for a reason — likely looking for food or resources.
The wolf was moved to a wild, coastal habitat on the west side of Vancouver Island to give it the "best chance possible" of survival, the service said.
'A wake-up call for hunters'
Alexander recently produced a Nature of Things documentary on the wolf, which was released internationally and has garnered global acclaim.
"I feel empathy for the person who shot him," she said. "[They] couldn't have known that people all over the world were loving this wolf and following his life, and finding inspiration and hope in this wolf."
Even so, she said she hopes the death is a "wake-up call" for "entitled" hunters who kill for fun, and the B.C. laws that allow it.
"To have regulations in B.C. that allow someone who possesses a valid hunting licence to decide that they can just shoot a wolf for any particular reason … needs to be seriously examined," Alexander said.
'Takaya will leave behind a huge legacy'
Alexander added that Takaya will "leave a huge legacy," and described the thousands of supportive emails she's received from all over the world from people interested in the wolf's life.
"He was providing people with hope [because] he was probably the biggest isolationist in the world," she said, referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "It's just so sad that I had to tell people at this time, when people need hope, that this terrible thing has happened."
She said she believes the conservation officers will offer Takaya's remains to the local First Nations, and she plans to offer her own memorial service of some kind, which could be open to the public.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said an "investigation is ongoing and further details will be released as they become available."
- An earlier version of this story said Takaya was killed by a trophy hunter. In fact, the Conservation Office Service could only confirm Takaya was killed by a hunter.Mar 27, 2020 1:13 PM PT