Grey Area: Wolves of the Southwest(49min) showing with Wolf Hunter(12min)
Located in the far north east of Russia, Yakutia is by far the largest non-nation state in the world and home to the coldest city on the planet with temperatures in winter regularly dipping below 50 degrees celcius. In 2013 the state’s president, Yegor Borisov, announced a ‘state of emergency’, calling for international support and setting into motion a bounty system, which has since grown into the largest organised wolf hunt in history. The problem is that wolves are decimating reindeer herds. 12,000 reindeer were killed last year at a cost of 3 million euros to government caravans and indigenous cooperatives. The government can absorb these costs but across the taiga, exploding wolf populations are pushing indigenous people into poverty and exacerbating the break down of communities. In March I travelled to Yakutia to witness the situation first hand. There I met Ion Maxsimovic, the region’s most celebrated wolf hunter. Ion killed 23 wolves last year, more than any other hunter, winning 300,000 roubles and a snowmobile.
Grey Area: Wolves of the Southwest
It’s the American Southwest. A unique species of wolf, unlike any other, is making a comeback. Little known, the Mexican gray wolf has slowly bounced back from the very brink of extinction—only to face extinction yet again, from within: it’s genetics.
In a daring new operation, one lone wolf paves the way forward for a second chance at the survival of the species, raising an old question anew: can man and wolf learn to live alongside each other— or will we, yet again, drive “el lobo” to extinction?