North Vancouver Island is well known for its wildlife. Now, one of the region’s best-loved creatures is hitting the airwaves in Europe to spread the world.
Tundra the wolf — an 85 per cent lupine wolf-dog — and her handler Gary Allan are already local celebrities. The pair, along with Allan’s other part-wolf, Meshach, are fixtures on the North Island, where they visit schools, clubs and public events to educate people on what Allen’s website, whospeaksforwolf.com, calls a “wonderful, misunderstood animal.”
But now, the pair are spreading that message much further — and shining the spotlight on the North Island into the bargain.
Allan was approached by producers of a Belgian travel show last month, enquiring if he would be willing to meet with their camera crew. The makers of the show were filming on the B.C. coast and wanted to highlight the variety of wildlife on offer in this corner of the world.
Upon speaking to Allan and learning of his advocacy program, the producers were keen to include Allan and the wolves in the program.
After taking in a whale-watching trip out of Telegraph Cove, the film crew met with Allan, Tundra and Meshach at Cluxewe Resort and filmed the trio walking on the riverbank.
Allan said that the Belgians were thrilled with the shoot, taking in the spawning salmon, the eagles overhead, heron feeding and, of course, the wolves. He noted that the crew had previously spent three unfruitful days in Whistler in search of bear footage and were stunned at the variety of wildlife on the North Island.
“They were thrilled to be able to show so much wildlife,” said Allan. “We have so much wildlife up here and it’s so accessible.”
The show will focus on southwest B.C. and Vancouver Island, with an emphasis on local wildlife, and is expected to air in Belgium in early December. The program will then be uploaded and, once posted online, the Gazette will follow up with a link.
Allan said that he has met plenty of European visitors through his presentations and Tundra has always received very positive reactions. Now, with the opportunity to appear nationally in Belgium, he hopes she can inspire some of the viewers to make the trip to see her first-hand. “If she can help drive tourism, well, that would be something special.”
Through October Allan and Tundra will continue their presentations including appearances at the Royal B.C. Museum and Nanaimo public library for National Wolf Awareness Week, Oct. 13-19 as well as presenting at the Victoria First Nations Friendship Centre.
All the attention is nothing new to Tundra, an old hand at public appearances. “She just takes it all in stride,” said Allan.