Photograph by Ronan Donovan, National Geographic. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming This drowned bison fed a grizzly bear for several days before a wolf, photographed using a camera trap, moved in to enjoy an easy meal. Known as Mr. Blue for its steely blue-grey coat, this wolf has outlived five companions in its lifetime.

The National Geographic Society and National Museum of Wildlife Art traveling exhibit showcases the impactful work of National Geographic Explorer and photographer Ronan Donovan.

Jackson, WY (October 13, 2022)—On November 5, 2022, the National Museum of Wildlife Art will open the traveling photography exhibition Wolves: Photograph by Ronan Donovan, featuring Ronan Donovan’s stunning images and video of wild wolves in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. Since 2014, National Geographic Explorer and photographer Ronan Donovan has examined the relationship between wild wolves and humans to better understand the animals, our shared history, and what drives the ongoing human-wolf conflict.

Photograph by Ronan Donovan, National Geographic. Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada Members of the Polygon pack greet each other. A pup hugs the pack’s aging matriarch, White Scarf (far right). The muzzle is a common method of greeting. A second pup playfully bites a feather while rubbing its nose with Slender Foot.

The exhibit, created by the National Geographic Society and the National Museum of Wildlife Art, will feature images and video, highlighting the contrast between wolves that live in perceived competition with humans and wolves that live without human intervention. It will be on view at the National Museum of Wildlife Art until April 29, 2023.

Wolves: Photograph by Ronan Donovan will introduce visitors to the daily lives of wolves in the Arctic – how they hunt, play, travel and rest in one of Earth’s harshest environments – with unprecedented privacy. In contrast, wolves in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem are fearful of humans, making it nearly impossible to document their daily lives. One of the clear distinctions in the footage is the ability to see wolf cubs in the Arctic, which allowed Donovan to document behaviors he had never seen in Yellowstone. Donovan attributes these differences to the fact that arctic wolves rarely experience negative encounters with humans or view them as a threat – it’s like stepping back to a time when humans learned from wolves and subsisted on the same prey.

Photograph by Ronan Donovan, National Geographic. Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada A wolf’s howl can travel up to 16 kilometers across a vast open landscape like Ellesmere Island. Here, the One Eye and Bright Eyes sisters yell at family members who were moving south to survey their territory. Eventually the pack split, leaving the weary pups in the previous year’s den while the adults continued to travel south.

“Wolves are such a fascinating animal to me because of their complex relationship with humans,” says Donovan. “Wolves were the first animals domesticated by humans around 30,000 years ago and have lived alongside us ever since as guardians, workers and companions. Yet as humans moved to more sedentary lives, raising what amounts to easy prey in the form of cattle, wolves found themselves in conflict with humans.

As wolves in North America are increasingly threatened due to recent extreme wolf control laws and humans continue to encroach on the land and food sources these animals need to survive, Donovan hope his photos will help people understand them better. often misunderstood animals. He also hopes they will see wolves for what they really are: powerful, intelligent and social mammals that have evolved to live in family structures similar to those of humans.

“How a culture views wolves can reveal a lot about how a society interacts with its environment. Is there a belief in power over animals, or is there a shared collective landscape? ” Donovan said. “As a visual storyteller, my goal is to portray my subjects in the most authentic way by showing the challenges they face as well as the tender moments between family members in order to evoke a shared emotion that the viewer can connect.”

“This exhibit is another testament to how National Geographic uses powerful storytelling to enlighten, educate and inspire audiences around the world to understand and care about wildlife conservation,” Kathryn Keane, vice president of the public programming at the National Geographic Society. “Ronan takes us into the mysterious world of wolves with his powerful images and videos. This experience helps us to better realize how connected we are to this amazing species and all the wildlife of the world we share.

Art Curator at the National Museum of Animal Art, Dr. Tammi Hanawalt adds: “We are delighted to have partnered with National Geographic to bring this fascinating exhibition to the National Museum of Animal Art for the first time. What better place to have an exhibit on wolves than at a wildlife museum located where they live.” She continues, “Donovan provides a stunning visual story about these two wolves – those of the Greater Yellowstone and Arctic ecosystem – to ask questions about the effects of human intervention in the natural world. Not only can we enjoy the dramatic and touching photography, but through the storytelling we take away a deeper understanding of these creatures and perhaps of ourselves.

The visuals featured throughout Wolves: Photograph by Ronan Donovan were captured from Donovan’s National Geographic Society-funded work in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. They were featured in National geographic 2016 issue of the magazine on Yellowstone and in the September 2019 issue, as well as the National Geographic WILD series white wolf kingdom in 2019, available on Disney+.

Wolves: Photograph by Ronan Donovan is generously sponsored by Erika and Mick Cestia, Charles W Engelhard Foundation, Marnie Coin-Peterson and Tasso Coin, Cornell Doulgas Foundation, Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Cindy and Evan Jones, Berthe K. Ladd, Mays Family Foundation, Kent Nelson, Annette and Noah Osnos, the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, Pat Wilson and the Wyoming Arts Council.


Field biologist turned conservation photographer and filmmaker, Ronan Donovan has explored the human relationship with nature and wildlife on all seven continents. Donovan’s passion for conserving wildlife and wild places ignited while growing up in Vermont and later during his years as a wildlife field biologist researching spotted owls and chimpanzees. . He transitioned to visual storytelling as a way to amplify the wildlife researchers and conservationists that Donovan collaborated with. In addition to her National Geographic work on wolves, Donovan has documented human-chimpanzee conflicts in Uganda, and primatologist Dian Fossey’s legacy work has focused on mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Donovan strives to reconnect viewers to the natural world through the lives of our fellow social mammals to highlight our shared past and intertwined future.


The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonders of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, invested in bold people and transformative ideas, offering more than 15,000 grants for work on all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through offers educational and engaging audiences around the world through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitterand Facebook.


The National Museum of Wildlife Art, a non-profit organization founded in 1987, is a world-class art museum containing over 5,000 works of art depicting wildlife from around the world. Featuring works by eminent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon and Carl Rungius, the museum’s unparalleled permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 BCE to the present day. Built into the hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the museum received designation as the “National Museum of Animal Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008. Boasting a museum shop, interactive gallery for children, a restaurant, and an outdoor sculpture trail, the museum is just two and a half miles north of Jackson Town Square and two miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park.

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