A 20-year-old wildlife photographer found herself in the middle of a surreal moment while she was visiting the Canadian Arctic.
Meline Ellwanger was working near Churchill, Manitoba, when she found herself surrounded by a curious wolf pack, according to her posts on social media.
“During my visit to the Arctic something incredible happened…” she wrote on an Aug. 24 TikTok video showing the rare encounter.
The video starts out showing a close up of her face — as ice crystals cling to her eyelashes and brows in the frozen landscape.
She zooms out, and several wolves are shown standing behind her, gazing inquisitively into the camera. Thirteen wolves surrounded Ellwanger and her colleague, she said in the caption.
The video then shows the wolves stretching just like a dog would, howling toward the sky, and playing and rolling around in the snow.
Ellwanger, who has five years of experience photographing wildlife, remains calm and composed throughout the video.
It’s unclear when the video was captured. Ellwanger opened up about the experience in a March 27 post on Instagram.
“I came in with hopes of seeing wolves but this trip exceeded all my expectations,” she wrote in the caption.
She also described how the area is unique because the wolves there have never been hunted.
“Because they have never had any bad experiences with humans they get quite curious,” she said in the post. “We had two incredible encounters with the wolf pack walking right past us just a couple of feet away.”
In an April 3 post, she described how the wolves approached her during one of the encounters.
“As a wildlife photographer the best feeling is to see that an animal is completely comfortable with (your) presence to the point where they continue on with their natural behavior,” she said. “These wolves were incredibly curious but still cautious. They went around us and as they continued on they started playing and running around, completely unbothered by our presence.”
McClatchy News reached out to Ellwanger on Aug. 28 and did not receive a response.