For Immediate Release
The Wolf At Canada's Door, and a World Heritage Site Campaign
Takaya and the Salish Sea
[CEDAR – March 28th, 2017] "The wolf's at Canada's door," says Cheryl Alexander, "And that's a good thing for the Salish Sea. I was captivated when I caught my first glimpse of the lone wolf down by the rocky shore of the Salish Sea.”
Alexander is the researcher and conservation photographer that has been documenting the lone wolf of the Discovery/Chatham Islands, just off the shores of BC's capital city where she lives. "Over time I've come to see Takaya as a remarkable symbol of Canada's biodiversity, wilderness heritage and the need to protect these values."
Alexander, an environmental consultant and former lecturer in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Victoria, is heartened by the unanimous support of last week's report from a Parliamentary Committee looking into Canada's record on biodiversity protection. However, she believes "there's much more to be done, very quickly, if our country is to live up to its international promises to protect 10% of our coastlines and 15% of our diverse ecosystems by 2020."
“For me, the wolf represents a significant interface between the land and the water here at Canada’s ‘portal’ into the Salish Sea. His life and daily rituals, interactions with his environment and surroundings, all reflect a wild spirit that is in sync with nature, the sea and the Island's bounty. His existence reminds us to protect what is wild and wonderful about the Salish Sea, our home too.”
Alexander first came across the wolf in 2014, while out on the Salish Sea, as part of her ongoing documentation of the biodiversity and magnificence of the natural habitat gracing Canada's entrance to the Pacific Ocean. Her work with Takaya, the word for wolf in the language of the Coast Salish people, has recently been featured in MacLean’s, and a documentary and book detailing their shared experiences are in the works.
"I decided that if I was going to save Takaya, and the natural habitat and waters that are his home and native land, that I needed to let the world know about him." Alexander is adamant. "The Salish Sea's shores and biodiversity are his heritage and ours, and we need to share the responsibility in saving it for our children and maybe for his."
Alexander has been working to support a campaign to have the Salish Sea added a short list of Canadian sites to be considered for World Heritage Site designation. She sees this as an important step in celebrating and acknowledging the importance of the inner ocean's outstanding cultural and natural heritage. Also supporting the campaign, which is currently in the public engagement phase, and will be until the end of April, are National Geographic photojournalists, Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, through their non-profit organization, SeaLegacy. There is a free booklet of world-class photos available, showcasing the significance of the Salish Sea and a video documentary will be released in early April.