When I joined Jim at Wolf Camp in the winter of 1993, he would tell me many stories about his early years with the Sawtooth Pack. One account that stands out was how a mountain lion killed the omega wolf and how the pack reacted to this loss.
He said that he didnít fully comprehend how deeply the wolves cherished the omega wolf, Motaki, until she was gone. The project was only in its first year and the behavior he had witnessed until then had always simply appeared as ìwolf behavior.î He told me that he couldnít quite grasp at first that within all of their interactionsóthe eye contact, the gentle games, the pressing of shoulders while walkingóthere were countless expressions of affection and devotion. He only came to understand these things so fully and completely when faced with their absence.
When Motaki died, Jim told me something began to change in him. Until then, Jim had thought of himself as a wildlife filmmaker. He had always assumed that after the wolf project, he would begin a new film on a new animal subject. But seeing the wolves grieve and struggle with their loss, he realized he wasnít just a filmmaker anymore. His work, and all the energy and passion he put into it, would be dedicated to wolves, inspiring me to join the team at wolf camp.
From this seed grew our nonprofit, Living with Wolves. Today, more than 25 years later, we continue to share the social, emotional and family-based nature of wolves.