Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Four Years With Yellowstone Wolves

Ecotrope | July 19, 2011 3:59 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:36 p.m.

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PBS "Nature" explores the secret lives of Yellowstone wolves.

PBS "Nature" explores the secret lives of Yellowstone wolves.

If you missed “In the Valley of the Wolves” that aired Sunday on PBS’s Nature, don’t worry. You can watch the entire show and take-outs online. You’ll see:

  • Wolves being wolves in the wild of Yellowstone National Park.
  • Two packs fight for territory.
  • A lone black wolf dubbed Casanova romances females from the Druid wolf pack.
  • Elk tire during a hunt and succumb to the natural cycle of survival in the park.
  • Coyotes, foxes and eagles feed on carcasses of left over wolf kills.
  • Disease takes its toll on the young.
  • A newly formed pack returns to the valley and the story begins where it ends.

Gathering the footage took time and the dedication of cinematographer Bob Landis, who has produced three films on Yellowstone’s wolves. He looks as serious as the wolves he films, full beard, glasses and a wrinkled brow.

“Usually I spend up to 300 days in the field, this is four years so multiply four times 300 and its about 1200 days of actual field time.  This is the only way you can get those unique sequences,” he says in a videotaped interview on the website.

What he has captured gives viewers an intimate, honest hour with wolves, each with a personality and story.

“It’s an animal that’s just part of the ecosystem. It’s part of the environment. It belongs here. It’s always been here, except when man removed it,” Landis says.

People eradicated wolves from Yellowstone in the 1920s, and brought them back to the park in 1995. Wolves also were killed off in the Pacific Northwest during that time and have been making a slow, calculated comeback.

Check out wolf policies in Idaho, Oregon and Washington State.

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