Legacy of famous B.C. wolf killed by hunter lives on 1 year later as a conservation project

·3 min read
Takaya was a wolf that lived alone for years on a tiny island near Victoria and was shot and killed by a hunter in March of 2020. (Cheryl Alexander - image credit)
Takaya was a wolf that lived alone for years on a tiny island near Victoria and was shot and killed by a hunter in March of 2020. (Cheryl Alexander - image credit)

It's been one year since the infamous wolf Takaya was shot and killed by a hunter on Vancouver Island and the woman who photographed his life wants to make sure he did not die in vain.

Takaya was well known for surviving alone for seven years on the tiny Discovery Island, just off Victoria, and was featured in the documentary Takaya: Lone Wolf which aired on CBC's The Nature of Things in 2019.

In January last year, Takaya swam back to Victoria, where he was captured and released up-island.

Following Takaya's death, documentarian Cheryl Alexander, who has since founded the Takaya Legacy Project, an organization to protect the future of wolves, has been lobbying for better wolf management policies in the province.

"B.C. at the moment has a very archaic approach to managing wolves," she said. "They are not in any way controlled in terms of the hunting of wolves recreationally."

Alexander says what made people so sympathetic to Takaya was that he was given a unique identity as a wolf. He was made "individual," rather than just one wolf of many.
Alexander says what made people so sympathetic to Takaya was that he was given a unique identity as a wolf. He was made "individual," rather than just one wolf of many. (WILD AWAKE IMAGES)

A revision of policies

Alexander says 1,200 wolves were killed recreationally in the province in the last couple of years.

"Anyone in B.C. with a general hunting license can kill a wolf, without any special license or permission," she added. "This is not true for most other species that hunters will hunt."

WATCH: Introduction to The Nature of Things film, Takaya: Lone Wolf

Alexander was glad when Premier John Horgan spoke out against these recreational killings after a trapper killed a couple of wolves in East Sooke on Vancouver Island, about a month ago. The woman posted a photo of herself holding the two dead wolves on her Instagram account with a caption saying she wanted to kill the whole pack. The photo sparked renewed outcry for better laws protecting wolves.

A number of organizations are also lobbying the government to revise current regulations to require a permit to kill a wolf.

Alexander says she's pleased with the support she's heard from around the world following Takaya's death.
Alexander says she's pleased with the support she's heard from around the world following Takaya's death. (WILD AWAKE IMAGES)

These calls for action have been met with pushback from hunters in B.C. who feel under threat and rightly so, she says.

"This is the 21st century. It's not the old west days where individuals should be going out and deciding for themselves that they can just shoot a wolf if they want to," she said.

A period of hope

Alexander says Takaya's tragic death has increased awareness about wolves and brought a different perspective to how humans can attempt to co-exist.

"I am really thrilled that people around the globe have become engaged in this and are advocating for a more enlightened management and relationship with wild wolves," she noted.

WATCH: Takaya howling at dusk

Hundreds of pieces of artwork have been created to commemorate the wolf. A new marble sculpture is to be be installed next month at Cattle Point, Oak Bay, in memory of Takaya.

Russell Books in Victoria is hosting a contest for children and adults to produce art and written works In tribute of the wolf. Winners of the contest will be featured on the social media pages of Russell Books, Rocky Mountain Books and Takaya's Legacy.

Tap the link below to hear Cheryl Alexander's interview on On The Island: