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Takaya: Lone Wolf
When a lone wolf is sighted on a remote Canadian island, Cheryl Alexander kayaks out to investigate. What follows would change her life and his forever.
Natural History, Documentary

This is the remarkable story of a lone wolf living against the odds and its incredibly close bond with wildlife photographer Cheryl Alexander. The documentary is set on a remote island archipelago off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, where Takaya made his home, living out an uncomfortable existence so close to the city of Victoria.

Despite being a highly social pack animal, Takaya lives a life of quiet isolation hundreds of miles from other wolves, adapting to exist entirely on a marine diet. The film is a captivating exploration of the connection and trust that Cheryl has forged with Takaya over five years.

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Behind the scenes
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  • This project was based around extraordinary trust and access with Cheryl Alexander who chose us to share her story. She spent years kayaking around Takaya's islands to film him and uniquely study his behaviour.
  • Lone wolves are notoriously hard to film as they're always on the move. This was a world-first opportunity to study and film a wolf close up.
  • Talesmith secured exclusive filming access, spending months on location with Cheryl and Takaya.
  • The film had huge environmental impact, seeding a wave of action across Canada to address the widespread wolf-culling laws. Takaya has become an icon of the ongoing movement. His legacy has invoked an upwelling of support for the anti-hunting movement globally.
  • The film won a Canadian Academy Award and three Leos, as well as receiving Grierson Award nomination.
  • Six months after the film was first broadcast, Talesmith received word of Takaya potentially interacting with another wolf newly arrived in the area.
  • As we prepared to send cameras back, Takaya was tragically shot and killed by a local hunter.
  • His legacy has been huge, inspiring global expressions or emotion, art and protest and throwing into debate the legality of hunting wild wolves in Canada.
Takaya: Lone Wolf was as much about Cheryl Alexander, a Canadian environmentalist, as it was about the wolf with which she has become obsessed. Takaya’s home is a scenic place, bordering on the spiritual, and its beauty provided its own restful reason to keep watching a very Canadian kind of hour — polite, outdoorsy, equable.
Set against a hauntingly beautiful backdrop of mountains and ocean, the story felt like an elemental parable of man and nature. Alexander obviously feels a powerful emotional connection with Takaya, but manages to avoid anthropomorphising him too much. Yet watching him throw his head back to emit a soul-piercing wolf-howl, it was impossible not to feel an excruciating pang of sympathy for his solitary state.
Takaya: Lone Wolf was a love letter of a documentary; heartfelt.

Produced by Talesmith, Cineflix and MBM TV
Executive Producers: Martin Williams, Andre Barro, Cheryl Alexander
Director: Martin Williams, Mary Frymire
Producer: Gaby Bastyra, Bruce Whitty, Kim Bondi
Director of Photography: Mike McKinlay
Editor: Bryan Sullivan
Associate Producer: Amabel Adcock

One Woman's Remarkable Bond with the Wild