A federal judge recently reintroduced protection for Wyoming wolves. Read the New York Times article to learn a little more. Woohoo! After seeing these magnificent animals in person last February in Yellowstone National Park, I couldn’t be happier. For those who don’t know the story, here’s a condensed version. Wolves were brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1970s. However, in 2011 the government removed them from protection under the endangered species act and allowed management to be transferred to individual states. In September 2012 Wyoming lifted protection of the wolves. This meant should one stray out of the national park it was fair game to shoot it on sight. Unfortunately, over the course of the fall and winter seasons to follow several alphas were killed. This left gaps for mating season and broke up packs who no longer had an alpha. This new protection will prevent shooting of the wolves should they stray outside national park boundaries (where they are always protected). Thankfully this past winter I was able to see them up close and personal as part of a trip to Yellowstone National Park. There was a male alpha who was left alone when his female was killed in 2012 (he is called 755). He found a new mate in 2013, but she too was killed. This time she was taken out by a pack defending their territory. Alpha male 755 was very obviously trying to form a new pack and pick a mate in 2014. Ending up unsuccessful he now travels alone. As you may know traveling alone instead of in a pack leaves him very vulnerable to being killed by another pack defending their females or territory. It’s how it works out there. I am thankful for this new protection though so there will be no human killing of these beautiful animals. I would like to continue to see them thrive and be accessible to enjoy as wildlife. The excitement I experienced when seeing the wild wolves was indescribable. A fellow photographer who was with me for this experience told me he not only could see my happiness, but also feel the joy emanating from me. I was literally jumping for joy and couldn’t get the smile off my face for hours. I was so elated it was hard to fall asleep that night! Keep in mind it was freezing cold and I was bundled up with layers (top to bottom), but none of that mattered in that moment. You know it is special when you forget what’s around you and bask in the glory and joy! May I have more experiences like this in life. Pure joy and happiness! Below is alpha male 755 who my group found early in the morning on the road in front of us! Yes, that’s right he was walking down the road. Amazing! Yes, we kept our distance and let him do his thing.