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This gallery is a collection of my own experiences with wild wolves in Yellowstone National Park taken over many years. These are all chance encounters in the wild- ie no captive animals. They were all taken with respect and consideration for the animals with long telephoto lenses so as to not intrude into their space as set by Park minimum distance policy. My policy is that if an animal does not want to be photographed, then leave it alone. There's a reason, and they are communicating this to us. The wildlife that doesn't mind or willfully tolerates our presence will offer plenty of photographic opportunities. The wolf reintroduction program that began in 1995 is probably the best conservation program ever established. Wolves were hunted and persecuted immensely and had been completely exterminated from Yellowstone National Park by the 1930s. To be able to see wild wolves in Yellowstone now is an experience to treasure forever. I had been very fortunate to capture imagery of some of the most 'famous' individual wolves of reintroduction history- including pictures of the Druid Peak Pack alphas 21M and 42F. And along came the Agate alpha 113M- who "led from the rear", another truly beloved wolf. The "White Wolf" of the Canyon Pack, the alpha female 540F, with her distinctive light colored fur, wandered mostly in the Hayden Valley of Yellowstone, and was the wonder for myriads of tourists. I encountered her early one snowy day in late October just before the Park closed for the winter. I took portrait photographs from beside my car. It was fantastic! At the time, the Park's legal distance to stay away was 25 yards (now it's 100 yards), so with my big telephoto I got a wonderful portrait of her. This is a one of a kind photo, but more importantly, the experience itself with her was also one of kind- that will last forever! Look carefully and you see a bit of sadness, or concern in her eyes. At the time I did not what it was. The alpha male 541m was also in the area, but was kind of nonchalant with a kind of "Whatever" disposition. But she was concerned about something. She howled some, and then suddenly started heading back the direction she had come from, and the male followed. A bit later I found out what it was. I saw both of them howling in a meadow down the road, just howling and howling. After a while, I could hear a faint howl from far away. The attitude of both the alphas immediately perked up. Their tails were flying and they were obviously jubilant. And just moment later, their missing pup, as it turns out, ran over and joined them. What happiness! I could go on and on I do hope my pictures here will inspire the viewer with wonder also, and to perhaps also develop a sense of 'knowing' wolves, and what wonderful creatures they are. They belong to the wilderness, in fact they ARE wilderness. Let's dispel the horrible myths we created to persecute wolves for many centuries and develop a collective appreciation for their existence!
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