Ronan Donovan’s love of the natural world was born, as he was, in rural Vermont. A biologist turned photographer and filmmaker, he went to Africa in 2011 to study wild chimpanzees in Uganda. His film work has aired on PBS’s Nature. For the Yellowstone issue of National Geographic, Donovan spent 2015 living in the national park and chronicling the life of one of its iconic species, the gray wolf.
Now based in Montana, Donovan describes the gray wolf as “an animal that resembles humans in many ways: social mammals, strong family bonds, top predators.” Reintroduced to Yellowstone in the mid-1990s after a 70-year absence, the wolves have thrived. To Donovan, they symbolize “wild places, places that haven’t been completely engulfed by Western civilization. ... They are wild, as we once were.”