WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Finalist 2016

The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image

Ronan Donovan, USA

The shot

Ronan watched from a plane as a biologist aimed a tranquiliser dart from the helicopter below. ‘The wolf’s fear and anxiety at the man and machine bearing down on it was intense,’ says Ronan, ‘there were a lot of moving parts. It was one of the most challenging images I’ve made.’

The alpha male in the centre heads up one of 10 wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park. Grey wolves became extinct here in the early 1900s but were reintroduced in 1995. In Yellowstone it’s now conservationists, not hunters, who aim their guns at these magnificent predators, tranquilising them for health checks. Outside the park it’s a different story.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D X; 200-400mm f4 lens; 1/8000 sec at f5.6; ISO 400.


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA: latitude 44.560116, longitude -110.32387 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA: latitude 44.560116, longitude -110.32387

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

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Ronan Donovan

Ronan Donovan, USA

Ronan's love of nature stems from his upbringing in rural Vermont. As a field biologist turned photographer, he has had the opportunity to explore a range of conservation issues and has found that photography allows him to give a voice to his subjects.

  • Spoils of the hunt