A Story I forgot to Tell: Takaya, a Wild Wolf We Had the Great Fortune to Meet on Vancouver Island

Les, Kai and I were fortunate enough to spend last winter on our boat at the Causeway Docks in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada. Several earlier blog posts characterize our stay there (URLs) and we’d love to go back for a visit and more when the border re-opens.

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/boatingongreatnorthern.org/339, https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/boatingongreatnorthern.org/372, https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/boatingongreatnorthern.org/514,

Victoria is a great walking “city”, more of an overgrown town really. There are parks, shops of every kind, pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, museums and so many great places to go and spend time with the friendly Victorians. Some of the fellow cruisers we met there, we are still in contact with…

A late winter, early spring day, found Les, Kai and I ambling down a sidewalk close to Irving Park, one of the many parks in Victoria, BC, this one being about 4 village blocks from the Marina. Tethered by his thin but powerful 500 pound breaking strength spectra leash, Kai was leisurely walking ahead of us on point, making things safe for us in his wee chihuahua way.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement and turned to see a large dog surging across the street into the park, about 100 meters away.  Double-take warranted.  It was a gull dern adult wolf.  In fact, a rather panicked looking wolf.  It ran around the park and appeared very distraught.  Being wild and all… I’m sure the city surroundings were a bit daunting.  Every time it came up to a fence it wheeled around and ran wherever it could.  The park is fenced on only two sides so it eventually took off in the direction it had appeared from and disappeared out of sight. In retrospect I do not think I give Kai enough credit. He was out front, and when the wolf saw him, one sight of chi power at play was all it took to panic the poor beast… who immediately tried to figure out how to get the heck out of the park ASAP!!! Of course… we picked up Kai as protective parents will… but he never flinched, and his beady eyes never left the first sight of his kindred wolf spirit. He was puffy all afternoon…

Interesting stuff occurs up in the great Northland, even in the decidedly humanized cities.  Yes, ladies and gentleman… Animal Control and other officials saw the wolf and confirmed our and others sightings.

Now… we hadn’t seen everything that Victoria had to offer just yet… but the wolf sighting was high up on the list of interesting occurrences to echo about in the canyons of ones mind…

Takaya. Picture taken on Discovery Island

We continued our stroll of course, it being a lovely sunny springish day.  Buds on the bushes and little green shoots standing up perkily in the flower beds…

Later that evening we discovered via Canadian TV News that the wolf had been identified as Takaya, a lone wolf that had been living on Discovery Island less than a mile off the Vancouver coast East of Victoria. For some reason Takaya, after living on the Island for about 8 years decided it was time to leave. He was eventually captured by Animal Control and relocated about 70 kilometers West of Victoria. That is not the end of the story by any means…

The next phase of Takaya’s story is rather sad. Not more than two months later, a senseless thing happened. A trophy hunter shot and killed Takaya.

Full stop.

There was quite an outpouring of grief from those who had been following his story. Cheryl Alexander was affected in particular. She is an author and photographer who spent six years studying and photographing Takaya on his island to learn more about him and his solitary life. She has a newly released book, “Takaya – Lone Wolf,” that showcases Takaya. She also produced a television documentary last year that propelled the wolf onto the world stage and gave him an international following. It is very worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7w-_o4XYbU

On the same day that Cheryl’s most recent book was released, a driftwood sculpture of Takaya was placed in the Fairmont Empress Hotel’s main lobby.


This driftwood sculpture stands on a display table that tells Takaya’s story and has multiple pictures of him in the wild.

The project was the brainchild of Cheryl Alexander and the driftwood artist, Tanya Bub. The sculpture that is now in the lobby of the Empress Hotel, stands on a display table that tells Takaya’s story. It has pictures of him in the wild. and will be on display at the Empress until mid-October before moving to the Eagle Feather Gallery in Nootka Court also in Victoria.

Les and I look forward to visiting the driftwood Takaya when we have the chance again to visit Victoria…

The next time there is a full moon… go outside and join in the wolf, coyote and dog chorus… with a full throated howl to celebrate the wolf people that have come and gone over the ages.

Wolf lives matter….

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