Six Years Among the Wolves
updated 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In the early '90s, the couple shot 60,000 ft. of film in a 25-acre enclosure in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains, capturing intimate footage of the wolves as they hunted, mated and reacted to a cougar attack that left one member dead and others shaken. "Their ears went down and they tucked their tails. Wolves care a great deal about each other," says Jim. In other footage, Jamie, 43, a former zookeeper and veterinary technician who met Jim aboard a flight home from Africa in 1987, wriggles into a den to get a look at newborn cubs.
The Dutchers parted with the wolves almost nine years ago when they returned to their home in Ketchum, Idaho, to continue work on documentaries and books. They used to make occasional trips to see surviving pack members (now down to five) in their new home on a Nez Percé Indian reservation. But no more. "It's too sad," says Jim. "They'd follow us to the gate and sit, as if to say, 'Don't go.' "
Nancy Jeffrey. Michael Haederle in Ketchum