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Posted 28 November, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in Animals, Dogs / Hundar, Photography

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He Watched Helplessly As A Wild Wolf Approached His Dog. Then Something Incredible Happened.   22 comments

Despite their incredible beauty and obvious similarities to our domestic companions, just about everyone knows that wolves are not to be messed with in any way.

But in 2003, Alaskan wildlife photographer Nick Jans and his labrador encountered a wolf in their backyard – and began a relationship that would defy logic and transform an entire community.

Jans was on the back porch of his Juneau home with his dog when a wild wolf appeared. With all the excitement, his dog slipped away, racing out to meet the stranger.

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Nick Jans

Nick was stunned to see the two start to play together. He managed to capture this photo of them during the encounter.

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Nick Jans

The wolf stayed in the area, and in the years since, Nick has devoted much of his time to documenting him, naming him Romeo.

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Arnie Hanger

Romeo became a Juneau fixture, known for playing with local dogs at nearby Mendenhall Glacier Park.

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Nick Jans

Residents were unsure at first, but they soon realized that Romeo just wanted to play.

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Nick Jans

Romeo didn’t just play with other dogs. He played with humans, too. “The wolf would bring out toys that he’d stashed,” Nick said in an interview. “One was a Styrofoam float. Romeo would pick it up and bring it to [my friend] Harry to throw. He clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs.”

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Nick Jans

“The amazing thing was Romeo’s understanding. It wasn’t just our understanding and tolerance. It was the combination of his and ours and the dogs’. We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.”

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Dave Willson

Romeo remained around the outskirts of Juneau for six years, becoming an ambassador to the wild and a powerful symbol in the community.

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Nick Jans

After Romeo’s passing in 2010, the residents of Juneau held a memorial for the wolf and had this special plaque made in his honor.

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Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire

It’s so inspiring to see three different species learn to live peacefully together in harmony. It just goes to show how wonderful the world can be.

Share this amazing story with your friends, and check out Nick’s account of this unbelievable tale, A Wolf Named Romeo.

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Tracking British Columbia’s secretive sea wolf   1 comment

October 1, 2015

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Two wolves run on the beach, exploring the tidal zone for meals.

Two wolves run on the beach, exploring the tidal zone for meals. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

When we hear the word “wolf” nearly every one of us will think of wolves in a forest. Perhaps in our mind’s eye, we see a pack of wolves chasing down an elk or bison in Yellowstone, or monitoring a herd of caribou in Alaska, looking for the weakest link. But what we likely don’t think of is a wolf standing in an estuary stream catching salmon, or strolling along a beach poking through washed-up kelp for barnacles and other morsels to eat.

Yet that is exactly what happens among a very specific population of wolves living on the coastal islands of British Columbia. These wolves don’t hunt deer, in fact many may go their whole lives without ever seeing a deer. Instead, they rely on what the tide brings in. Fish roe, crustaceans, seals and washed-up whales are common meals for these wolves, which have been named sea wolves for their reliance on the ocean for food.

They are entirely unique and with behaviors that have scientists fascinated, but they are also heavily persecuted by humans. Between this and a future threatened by climate change, the outlook for these wolves is tenuous at best.

PHOTOS TO INSPIRE: 6 animals with strong family bonds

Photographers Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier recently went on assignment for National Geographic, spending weeks in the field crouched in a blind to photograph the intimate lives of these secretive wolves. We spoke with them about their experience, as well as what the average person can do to help preserve a highly unique and little-understood population.

Coastal rain wolves live on the outer Islands of the BC coast. Wolves on these Islands live on a very diverse selection of food including deer, chitons in the intertidal zone.

Coastal rain wolves live on the outer Islands of the BC coast. Wolves on these Islands live on a very diverse selection of food including deer, chitons in the intertidal zone. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

MNN: You spent weeks on the ground, waiting for sightings of a pack of wolves. What was it like the very first time you laid eyes on them?

CM and PN: We arrived on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia where we knew a couple of wolves had been sighted. We used our zodiac (small raft) to circumnavigate the island — a journey that took about 1.5 hours, until we sighted paw prints on the sand. The trick for us was to predict the patterns, trails and times the wolves were patrolling certain beaches, and to try to be there before them.

The first time we saw them it was a total fluke. We landed the zodiac on a beach and as Paul and Oren went up a stream to check things out, I stayed with the zodiac and was utterly surprised when one of the wolves came trotting out of the bushes. A small, slender female, she was completely calm and she just kept trotting my way until she was just 30 feet away.

At the same time, Paul and Oren rounded the corner of the stream and came into the open beach. Now the wolf was in between us. Instead of panicking, she just sat on her haunches, did a long, lazy stretch and then just went back the same way she had come from.

It was a comedy of errors, in which the wolf played its part and we, as photographers, fumbled and made mistakes and ended up with only mediocre pictures of a perfectly lovely encounter.

You had the unique opportunity to watch wild wolf pups hang out with their family. What was it like to witness the family structure of the wolves?

What we found was a pack of five pups being watched by a single adult female, presumably their mother. When pups are young, the entire pack helps take care of them. All the members bring food to the mother, who has to stay with the young pups. On this occasion, the pack must have been out hunting and when night fell and we had to leave, they still had not returned.

The next morning, when we returned to the beach, the pups were gone, so presumably the pack returned and they all moved on to another den site.

A mother and pups on the beach is a rare sight for anyone, and these photographers put in their dues to be able to witness it.

A mother and pups on the beach is a rare sight for anyone, and these photographers put in their dues to be able to witness it. (Photo: Cristina Mittermeier)

You two spent weeks in a tiny blind, waiting for opportunities to photograph the wolves. What do you do to stay, you know, sane?

Working in the blind gave me a whole new level of respect and admiration for photographers who specialize in wildlife. We spent a total of 28 days working from this blind, and it was hard.

The first few days were fun and busy as we selected the site and slowly and carefully set out to build the blind. One has to work slowly and early in the morning as not to disturb things. We laid a tarp on the ground to keep ourselves dry.

Unfortunately, the material crinkled and made noise every time we moved, so we had to remain really still. This meant stiff muscles and boredom. To pass the time we rnd a lot of time together. It teaches you a lot about a partner, when you have to be jammed in a small space and unable to move or talk for long periods of time. I have to say I enjoy Paul’s company very much.

Three wolf pups play with a piece of kelp.

Three wolf pups play with a piece of kelp. (Photo: Cristina Mittermeier)

Why these wolves? What sets them apart so much from other wolves as an extra concern for conservation?

The wolves of British Columbia are very different from any other wolves we have ever encountered. Unlike the gray wolves of the BC interior or the much larger timber wolves, rain wolves or sea wolves as they are known are small and dainty.

Unlike any other wolves, these ones don’t mind swimming between islands, sometimes for long distances but what truly sets them apart is the fact that over 70 percent of their diet is marine. They patrol the beach during low tide and eat mussels, clams and other marine life.

They are also very adept at hunting for salmon as the fish make their way up forest streams. Most impressively, they are able to hunt seals and sea lions.

These wolves are specialists in the meals that are available along a coastline.

These wolves are specialists in the meals that are available along a coastline. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

Which is the most pressing concern to the future of these coastal island wolves?

Very little is known about them and preliminary DNA studies by scientist Chris Darimont from the University of Victoria indicate they might be a distinct race or even a subspecies.

For us, the real driver, however, is the fact that these fascinating animals are not protected by provincial or federal laws and people are not only allowed, but encouraged to kill them.

They are so curious and their habit of patrolling the beach exposes them to the danger of shooters who can spot them from boats.

The coastal island wolves are used to getting their feet wet for a meal.

The coastal island wolves are used to getting their feet wet for a meal. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

What can the average reader do right this minute to help protect coastal wolves?

One of our partner organizations, Pacific Wild, a small NGO based in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, is doing a lot of work to make authorities more aware of the ecological and indeed, the cultural importance of these animals.

The recent approval of a plan to slaughter 400 wolves in central BC makes it even more imperative to encourage the drafting of some laws that offer some protection.

Pacific Wild has gathered almost 200,000 signatures in a petition to the Premier of BC, Christy Clark to protect rain wolves. Supporting such a petition, opposing the wanton slaughter of wildlife, and educating themselves about the impacts of recreational hunting of apex predators is the best things people can do.

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Find out more about Nicklen and Mittermeier’s conservation work at SeaLegacy, a nonprofit working to document the planet’s fragile marine ecosystems and inspire advocacy for their protection.

By: Jaymi Heimbuch

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Wolves for Days   Leave a comment

October 11, 2015 Source

Wolves are a common feature of Ahousaht life, and I am so lucky to encounter them regularly along our shoreline. They are a special creature to meet and I feel blessed every time I encounter one. This year there was a litter of 4 pups born to one of the females in the pack. While they have not been seen in the village, they were seen on the mudflats of Sunshine Bay in the early mornings. Perhaps next year I will see some pups.

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Walking With Wolves and Other Wild Things   1 comment

September 14, 2015 Source

A walk along a trail in the early morning  woods on a fine fall like day deep in the Tennessee Mountains. With some amazing companions.

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Snoozing in the sunshine seemed to be the rule of the day. For both the wolves and the bobcat by an old fence line.

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Scenes from along the trail.

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Company of Wolves: one of the most talked about social justice issues of the day   Leave a comment

From Open Graves, Open Minds August 12, 2015 by Lucy Northenra

Recent events suggest that Animal Rights is quickly becoming one of the most talked about social justice issues of the twenty-first century. Garry Marvin, Professor of Human and Animal Studies at the University of Roehampton will be opening up some of these issues for debate at the Company of Wolves Conference in September. Prof Marvin will be giving a keynote address on ‘Cultural Images of the Wolf and the Wolves’ Re-emergence in Europe’. Once again OGOM seems to have its finger on the pulse of contemporary society as these issues are red hot just now.

Those of you who are following the Cecil the Lion story will be know that Cecil’s death has sparked outrage worldwide, as people everywhere lament the damage that humans continue to inflict on the populations of not just lions, but the planet’s many endangered creatures. On Saturday night, the Empire State Building served as a timely, sky-high reminder of this devastating impact, as images and videos of threatened animals were projected onto the façade of the iconic New York City skyscraper. Cecil was one of the animals featured.

Large images of endangered species are projected on the south facade of The Empire State Building, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in New York. The large scale projections are in part inspired by and produced by the filmmakers of an upcoming documentary called “Racing Extinction.” (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

You can read about this story in Huffington Post

Looking forward to debating some of these issues at the conference.


Wolves, Grizzlies, Coyotes and an Elk… Yellowstone’s Primeval Wonders   Leave a comment

From nomadruss on July 28, 2015

Yellowstone is full of wonders. There are of course the geysers, the splendor of the morning light, and the ancient forests. There is the primeval wonder of what the forest holds. Once in a while, for a short time, the life hidden in the forests reveals itself. I learned one evening of a wolf that had taken down an elk cow and decided to catch a glimpse of such life revealed.

When I arrived on the scene, a grizzly bear had chased a wolf away from its kill. Grizzlies can smell meat from over 2 miles away. The grizzly had sprinted across the meadow, stealing the female elk away. It was enjoying fruits of the wolf’s labor. The wolf was lying in the grass, waiting, hoping to retrieve its kill.

The wolf attempted to get the carcass back, but the grizzly is much too powerful. The wolf was time and again chased away.

As the bear stood over the carcass, the wolf watched.

The bear finally said, I’m going to drag the carcass over here, and bury it. That way others won’t be able to smell it. The wolf could only watch dejectedly. Finally at dusk, the wolf wandered the six miles back to its den.

The following morning a coyote wandered onto the scene.

It too was chased away when it approached too close.

The coyote was wily indeed. Many times it circled close, and was chased away. It kept circling the area in front of the kill, and finally it found a piece it could steal. The angry bear could only watch in disgust.

For some reason the grizzly wandered up the hill for several minutes. It was the coyote’s chance to get a meal. It had the carcass all to itself for a short time.

The grizzly then returned, feeding on the carcass for a second day. By the end of this day the grizzly was blissfully full. It laid on its back, on the buried carcass, paws in the air.

On the third day a younger grizzly appeared on the scene. It too was chased away. Indulging in a carcass seems to require a lot of work.

The younger grizzly wandered across the meadow, but would eventually return.

The big grizzly, having had its fill, wandered up the hill, never to return. The younger grizzly then fed on the remnants of the carcass. The cycle of life was once more complete, and the forest would soon grow dark and secret once again.

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