An enchanting and evocative look at the unique relationship between a solitary, island-dwelling wolf and a renowned wildlife photographer.
A lone wild wolf lives on a small group of uninhabited islands in British Columbia’s Salish Sea, surrounded by freighter, oil tanker and other boat traffic and in close proximity to a large urban area. His name is Takaya, which is the Coast Salish First Nations people’s word for wolf.
Cheryl Alexander studied and documented this unique wolf for years, unravelling the many mysteries surrounding his life. Her documentation of Takaya’s journey, his life on the islands and the development of their deep connection is presented alongside a stunning collection of her photography.
Through journal entries, interviews, and a stunning collection of photography, Takaya: Lone Wolf addresses a number of profound questions and tells a story that is certain to inspire, enlighten, and touch the heart. It is the story of a wild animal, alone yet at peace.
About the authors
Cheryl Alexander is a conservation photographer working worldwide to ensure protection of wilderness and wildlife. Through visual documentation and storytelling, she hopes to inspire passion and action that will protect the imperilled wild in our world for future generations. She has been studying and documenting Takaya’s life on both Discovery and Chatham islands for years. Cheryl’s film about this remarkable animal, Takaya: Lone Wolf, has been broadcast on CBC and the BBC to great acclaim and will be touring various film festivals throughout 2020 and 2021. Cheryl’s other books about Takaya published by RMB include Takaya: Lone Wolf, Good Morning, Takaya, and Takaya’s Journey. Follow Cheryl on Instagram @takayalonewolf and @cherwildawake or visit her website at wildawake.com. Cheryl lives in Victoria, BC.
Ecologist and author Carl Safina explores how humans are changing the living world, and what those changes mean for wild places and for human and other beings. His work connects broad scientific understanding with a moral call to action. His writing has won the MacArthur “genius” prize; Pew and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. Safina hosted the 10-part PBS series, Saving the Ocean With Carl Safina. He holds the Endowed Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University and is founder of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends. Carl’s most recent book is Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace.
"The story of Takaya and Cheryl reminds me of my long ago relationship with chimpanzee David Greybeard. It is only if you observe a complex animal over time, and with an open mind and heart that you can get a true understanding of the sentience of that animal, his or her being-ness. Cheryl exemplifies this approach – she is not afraid to become emotionally involved. And she knows how to tell a story that can be understood and enjoyed by anyone. I hope that this book will help create a better and more informed relationship between humans and wolves." —Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE; Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
"Cheryl got to know Takaya better than anyone. They had trust in each other. Often, he'd approach her. There was, for them, no fear. And thanks to Cheryl, Takaya's life has become a gift to us. It would be nice if we decide to return Takaya's favor." —Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild and Beyond Words
"Takaya's death should not be in vain. Rather, it should be an inflection point that triggers the end of the recreational killing of wolves in British Columbia." —National Observer
"Cheryl has done very valuable work in hours, days and more spent learning about a particular wolf. Because of their relatively high intelligence and social connectivity, wolves have much in common with humans. This helps to tear down the unfortunate old myth of the "big bad wolf". Her book is an important contribution to this topic." —Robert Bateman, artist and naturalist
"…Takaya's story is one of resilience, survival, and adaptability, but it's also one of beauty…" —Jezebel
"Astounding, moving and above all beautiful, this remarkable story inspires all of us to persevere and to value the world we live in." —W. Bruce Cameron, NYT #1 bestselling author
"A powerful and moving portrait of Takaya, a unique wolf that left a deep print on the hearts of British Columbians. Takaya's story breaks the mould on how we understand these animals, and stands as a symbol for the great pressures we exert on wolves across Canada." —Harley Rustad, journalist, editor; author of Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada's Last Great Trees
"Takaya: Lone Wolf tells the remarkable story of a wolf who, instead of mingling with other wolves, decided to observe humans by settling alone on an island right in front of British Columbia's busy capital and ended up having a one-to-one dialogue with a photographer visiting this island. A unique observational approach to understanding wolf ecology as well as a truly fascinating adventure, spiced up with numerous seal snacks." —Guillaume Chapron, PhD
"Cheryl Alexander's beautiful images and observations of Takaya's extraordinary island life provides the most heartfelt and undeniable proof of our potential to rekindle a relationship between our species that has been lost for far too long. We owe so much to Cheryl for not letting us forget Takaya, and this book should be a must read for anyone who doubts that humans and wolves can and should co-exist." —Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild
"A heart-searing book that draws us into feeling with and for Tayaka. Aren't we all stuck on an island, determined to survive alone, or transferred away from our home? The magnificent photos and insights inspire us to hang on too, to believe that we too will persevere. The wildness of the natural world is in us too." —Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame, author of Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom
"The true gift of someone like Cheryl is that they're willing to be that fly on the wall that spends days, weeks, months, years just observing, non-intrusively from a kayak, from a zodiac, from the water, watching a wolf be a wolf and do wild wolf things. Cheryl has been a voice for Takaya, not only to protect him but to do it in service to him and then carry on to keep his legacy alive, so he didn't die in vain." —Paul Nicklen, photographer, filmmaker, marine biologist, author, National Geographic Fellow, and co-founder of SeaLegacy
"Through beautiful imagery and a compelling personal narrative, Cheryl Alexander provides us with detailed insight into this majestic, yet often feared and misunderstood, apex predator. Takaya: Lone Wolf is a story of love and compassion. It's a story of Takaya's mutual trust and respect for Cheryl Alexander. And it's a story that will inspire you to want to learn more about the mysterious Canis lupus." —Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay–Gordon Head and professor at University of Victoria
"Takaya: Lone Wolf is a beautiful chronicle of photographer and author Cheryl Alexander’s relationship with a solo wild wolf living on a series of uninhabited islands in British Columbia. Much like renowned primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall, Alexander gains in-depth knowledge and understanding of Takaya through her direct observations made over a number of years. She recounts, through stories and her brilliant photographs, details of the wolf’s daily life and activities that would otherwise be unavailable to most humans. Through the author’s eyes, we spend time with Takaya as he hunts, feeds, patrols his territory, and relaxes in the sun, surveying his domain. Alexander provides her readers with details of the nature of Takaya’s home, including both marine and terrestrial habitats and species. Takaya, however, is not just a story of a woman observing a wolf. In her narrative, Alexander underscores the importance and incredible value of individual wild animals, and how much they can teach us. She also, perhaps most importantly, issues a clarion call to protect wild nature—to protect and defend wolves and all other wildlife, and to protect the land, the habitat on which they depend." —Barbara J. Moritsch, Ecologist and Author of Wolf Time and The Soul of Yosemite: Finding, Defending, and Saving the Valley's Sacred Wild Nature
"...Takaya's story is one of resilience, survival, and adaptability, but it’s also one of beauty..." - Jezebel
"Takaya's death should not be in vain. Rather, it should be an inflection point that triggers the end of the recreational killing of wolves in British Columbia." - National Observer
"The story of Takaya and Cheryl reminds me of my long ago relationship with chimpanzee David Greybeard. It is only if you observe a complex animal over time, and with an open mind and heart that you can get a true understanding of the sentience of that animal, his or her being-ness. Cheryl exemplifies this approach - she is not afraid to become emotionally involved. And she knows how to tell a story that can be understood and enjoyed by anyone. I hope that this book will help create a better and more informed relationship between humans and wolves."- Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE; Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
"Cheryl has done very valuable work in hours, days and more spent learning about a particular wolf. Because of their relatively high intelligence and social connectivity, wolves have much in common with humans. This helps to tear down the unfortunate old myth of the 'big bad wolf'. Her book is an important contribution to this topic."- Robert Bateman, artist and naturalist