Our photo of the day comes from Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
Yellowstone National Park has a special relationship with the wolf (canus lupis) – at some points grim, at other times hopeful. After the last wolves in the park were killed in 1926 – they were seen as unwanted predators – the species became one of the first to be listed as endangered some five decades later. At that point, Greater Yellowstone was listed as one of three recovery areas. From 1995 to 1997, 41 wild wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park. As of December 2016, there were at least 108 wolves in the park, according to the National Park Service.
And it was one of those that nature photographer Donald Quintana captured so majestically in our photo of the day. Look at that beauty, such poise and that knowing gaze! While I often imagine wildlife photographers sitting behind a blind for hours on end, this shot came about a bit differently. As described by Don:
"The first of several close wolf encounters during our visit to Yellowstone NP happened on the first morning in the Lamar Valley. Driving just past the confluence on our way to the hitching post I spotted something moving down the hill towards the road. Instantly I recognized it as a wolf. I sped up just a bit to try to intercept it before it crossed the road. I timed it perfectly! It crossed right in front of us and began to hunt in the field next to the vehicle. It successfully found a meal and began to devour it. Some small animal was having a bad morning. After she ate her meal, she moved past the small jam of vehicles that had joined us and went behind everyone, crossed the road, and moved back up the hillside. She gave us a brief glance back as she continued up and over the ridge."
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