This is an old webpage carried forward to our new site. Please note that some of the information might be out of date and we probably have newer footage.
Perhaps no animal is more misunderstood or mythologized than the wolf. By most accounts there are three species in North America, the wide ranging gray wolf (which can be gray, black, or white), the Mexican wolf (native to Mexico and the southwest United States), and the red wolf (native to the southeast United States). The latter two are very rare while the gray wolf is common in Canada, Alaska, Minnesota, and a few other states.
Wolves are loved or hated by people for a whole bunch of reasons, but not always appreciated for their most important trait. They are ecosystem stewards, and by some definitions, a keystone species. They reduce ungulate populations, they take weak and injured animals, leave carrion for others, influence prey movements, and have impacts on other predators such as coyotes. Wolves (or the loss of wolves) can create ripple effects throughout ecosystems in what scientists call a “trophic cascade” as the abundance of wolves effects the abundance of ungulates which then affects the abundance and diversity of plant life and so on.
Filming Wolf Stock Footage
Yellowstone National Park is by far the best place to see and video-tape wild gray wolves. The wolf density is relatively high, the habitat includes open areas with good visibility, and the animals are not persecuted so they do not flee at the first sight of a person. In fact, some of the animals have become so tolerant of people that rangers deliberately harass the wolves to increase their fear of people (a good trait to have should they leave the park). The best way to photograph and video tape wolves is to find a fresh kill or den, but use judgement and ethics when filming at either of these sites. Although other parks such as Voyaguers and Isle Royale National Parks are well known for their wolves, the animals are much harder to film there because of the dense forest.