This week is National Wolf Awareness Week!
Wolves are an important part of our world and it's important that we help children learn about them. Due to intense predator control, by 1930 wolves were eliminated from the majority of the United States, and on the brink of extinction. But for the first time in decades, due to the efforts of protection groups and conservationists, wolves are starting to make their way back. Education is a vital part of helping wolves and learning about what it will take to help keep them from disappearing again and keep nature in balance.
To help engage kids in learning about wolves, children's author and illustrator Imogen Taylor, created these printable wolf masks! You can download and print either by click on the image. Print and cutout the color one, or print and cutout the outline and let your children color it while you talk about these fun wolf facts.
- Wolves are mammals - they give birth to live young
- Wolves are carnivores - that means they eat primarily meat
- Wolves are top predators, and skilled hunters - not many other animals will try to fight wolves.
- Wolves biggest threat comes from humans and their intolerance of wolves - this is why educating our children about wolves is so important
- Most wolves live in packs of 6-10 wolves, led by one male wolf called the alpha
One exception to wolves living in packs was a lone wolf named Takaya.
Photographer Cheryl Alexander, shares about her story about Takaya (all photos copyright Cheryl Alexander)
"Takaya did not come from a safe place. Wolves are hunted and trapped like vermin in British Columbia, Canada. Takaya, with good fortune and his innate intelligence, managed to make his way from the wilderness, through the suburbs of a city, to a group of small islands that were a safe haven.
Our family house is near the islands and I go to the islands by boat often to photograph nature. My name is Cheryl Alexander, and I met up with Takaya soon after he arrived on the islands. I will never forget the moment I first looked into his eyes.
After that intense first encounter, I went out to those islands at dawn, at dusk, whenever the weather would permit for six years. Throughout that time I photographed and filmed Takaya as best I could, to document his stunning resourcefulness and his inspiring life. Over time I grew to admire and love this wolf.
Although only two miles from the city, Takaya prospered on the islands. Without any deer or small land mammals available, he learned how to hunt seals, to fish and eat goose eggs. To dig for water. And to deal with the humans who came to the islands.
Takaya had his own territory. He had ample food. Takaya lacked only one thing: a female. He made his needs clear with howls that echoed across the islands and the city.
At the start of mating season in his tenth year, Takaya left his island haven. It is not clear why. His journey was eventful and, in the end, tragic. He was killed by a hunter for no reason other than that he was a wolf."
Two children’s books about Takaya will also be available in 2021: Good Morning Takaya (Board Book for ages 1-3) and Takaya’s Journey (Picture Book for ages 3 – 6).
Takaya has inspired both adults and children around the world! Here are a few examples of artwork from students who watched the documentary about Takaya.
Upcoming Children's Books - Coming Spring 2021
Good Morning, Takaya
Cheryl Alexander and Alex Van Tol
The remarkable story of Vancouver Island’s lone wolf, Takaya, is told in this charming, lyrical picture book for infants.
Takaya, the lone wolf, wakes up on a quiet bluff and sets out to discover the calm, gentle beauty of his coastal home. Encountering a variety of colours and other wildlife, and witnessing the beauty of the natural world, Takaya spends his day wandering, hunting, eating, howling, resting, and sleeping.
This charming book, available as both a board book (ages 0–3) and a picture book (ages 4–8), features poetic text and stunning photos that illustrate the natural splendor of Takaya’s island refuge.
Cheryl Alexander and Alex Van Tol
Takaya’s Journey introduces young children to Takaya, the lone wolf.
Using beautiful photography and charming, accessible text, Cheryl Alexander and Alex Van Tol take elementary school readers into Takaya’s world. Along the way many questions are answered:
Who is Takaya?
Where did Takaya come from?
What does Takaya need?
What is Takaya’s home like?
What does Takaya eat?
Who keeps Takaya company?
What will Takaya do?
Entertaining and informative, Takaya’s Journey is written for pleasure, but also aligns with basic school curriculum needs in terms of dealing with natural history and human encounters with wildlife in urban settings.
To stay up to date follow Cheryl on Instagram @takayalonewolf and @cherwildawake or visit her website at wildawake.com. Cheryl lives in Victoria, BC.
- Racquel Nevers