Wolf-Whisperer. Wildlife Biologist. Natural History Filmmaker.
Ronan Donovan’s love of the natural world was born, as he was, in rural Vermont. A field biologist turned award-winning wildlife photographer and filmmaker, Ronan has worked on all seven continents, with experiences ranging from documenting wild chimpanzees in Uganda to chronicling the life of one of Yellowstone’s iconic species, the gray wolf.
A self-taught photographer and filmmaker, Ronan learned the technical aspects of each craft while working as a wildlife biologist, conducting field studies. Believing he could make a greater impact through conservation photography than through publishing in science journals, Ronan stepped full-time in to to conservation photography and filmmaking in 2013. With a deep passion for the wild and a keen eye for understanding animal behavior, his work transcends traditional wildlife photography, offering a unique window into how some of the most fascinating animals on our planet live, how some of their social structures mimic our own—and showing us why they deserve our protection.
This PDN 2017 “New and Emerging Photographer to Watch” possesses a special understanding of the intricate relationships between species and their environments. Through his lens, he reveals the hidden stories and complex dynamics that shape life in the natural world. From documenting the playful antics of wolf pups in Yellowstone National Park to capturing the grace and power of endangered elephants in Africa, Ronan’s work transports us into the heart of the animal kingdom.
As a National Geographic photographer and filmmaker, Ronan’s work has been featured in numerous publications and documentaries, captivating audiences around the globe. He is now working on a long-term project exploring the relationship between humans and wolves around the world, with a focus on coexistence. A passionate advocate for wildlife conservation, he believes that by connecting people to the natural world through his work, he can inspire a deeper appreciation of the need to preserve our planet’s biodiversity.
The Nature of Kinship
What does it mean to be human? We are, at our core, social mammals. We build relationships, communicate, reproduce, establish territories, and adapt to shrinking resources. In these ways, we’re no different from other social mammals. Chimpanzees, wolves, and gorillas are among the most charismatic mammals we know. We identify with them as species, groups, and even as named individuals. All social mammals live in groups to achieve together what they cannot do alone. Join biologist-turned-photographer Ronan Donovan as he shares what he's learned documenting these animals, and the insights he believes we—as fellow social mammals—can learn from our wild kin.
Photos: courtesy Ronan Donovan
Seen & Heard