Ronan Donovan (@ronan_donovan) Instagram Photos and Videos | instagyou.com

I’m posting imagery and stories from my article in the current issue of National Geographic Magazine (  @natgeo   ) about a family of wild Arctic wolves living on Ellesmere Island, Canada’s furthest northern landmass. The story focuses on a family of 10 wolves (6 adults and 4 pups) that I spent 1.5 months photographing and filming. The motivation for this project came out of my experiences trying to document the lives of gray wolves in Yellowstone and never feeling like I was able to do so because those wolves have a healthy fear of humans. Every wolf pack in Yellowstone has lost a pack member to hunting, so they have a necessary fear of humans. I wanted to tell a story about wolves that exist in a wilderness without competition with humans for the same food sources – wild game or livestock – and to show them for the intelligent family driven social mammals that they are. Since there is no wolf hunting in this area of Ellesmere Island, wolves view humans in a passive manner, rather than a fearful one. This allows for unparalleled access to their day-to-day lives like nowhere else on earth. My goal for this story is to remind us that wolves are complex social mammals that exist in nearly the same family structures as humans and engage in many of the same behaviors: play, mourn, social learning, and hunting strategies. All this to say, that while wolves around the world are continually vilified and killed at will, here on Ellesmere, they are free to live out their lives free from the report of a rifle and the bite of a trap. They exist as the key apex predators that they are, managing the prey species that in turn brings balances the ecosystem. Please follow along as I continue to post images from this assignment and check out the link in my bio to the digital article – Inside the harsh lives of wolves living at the top of the world – written by Neil Shea   @neilshea13  

Ellesmere Island, Magnetic North Pole