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Decade of the Wolf, Revised and Updated: Returning The Wild To Yellowstone Paperback – April 17, 2012


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Decade of the Wolf, Revised and Updated: Returning The Wild To Yellowstone + Yellowstone Wolves in the Wild + Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; Upd Rev edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762779055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762779055
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wolf biologist Smith and nature writer Ferguson (Hawks Rest) deliver a compelling inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project, covering the 10 years that have passed since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the controversial decision to reintroduce wolves into the national park. Their book is a detailed look at how the return of the wolves—once among the most numerous of North American predators—has provided scientists with a chance to witness "the dynamic forces of nature that drove this region before the coming of the Europeans" as well as to puzzle out what wolves mean to the area's ecosystem. Smith worked on the project, and the two authors offer hard facts (e.g., the number of elk killed by wolves each year is 9% of the elk population; the average life span of a wolf in Yellowstone is 3.4 years) as well as impressionistic "Portraits" of individual wolves that reveal their "epic lives, full of struggle and conquest." It's a perfect balance to Hank Fischer's Wolf Wars and will please fans of that well-received overview of the controversy. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1995, after an absence of 70 years, wolves were returned to Yellowstone National Park. Trappers captured 14 wolves from three packs in Canada and transported them to acclimation pens in the remote north of the park, from which they were released 10 weeks later. Seventeen more from four packs followed the next year, and it is from this 31-animal nucleus that the current 170 wolves in the park descend. Smith has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception and has studied wolves for more than 25 years. With the help of nature writer Ferguson, he has produced a marvelously intimate look at the ups and downs of wolf reintroduction. From problems with their release (the wolves initially would not leave the acclimation pens) to the only wolf that escaped before the official release (he hung by his teeth until he could scramble over the chain-link wall), Smith was in the thick of it all. Well illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs, this intimate history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone will find an eager audience. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book is a very easy read, over all.
Robert K. Furrer
This has to be the best book I have read in years about the Yellowstone National Park's reintroduction of the wolves.
Floyd H. Bond
If one gets the chance to hear either of the authors in person, be sure and make the time.
Thomas C. Stewart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Maughan on April 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
No one is more qualified to write about the Yellowstone wolves than the wolf project leader of the Park for the last 8 years, Dr. Douglas Smith. Gary Ferguson is a very accomplished writer about western wilderness and wildlife issues. I read almost every one of his books in one sitting.

The book is a series of stories about individual wolves, packs, plus well known and lesser known events in the Park's wolf recovery. Chapters also explain concepts of wolf biology, and the effects wolves are having on America's first national park.

Those people who go to Yellowstone to watch wolves or follow these events will want to snap this book up.

Others interested in wildlife will find it less compelling, but still a useful and good read.

The book is a fitting story of ten years of wolf recovery in Yellowstone Park. Still to be told is the history of wolf recovery in areas outside the Park, especially in Idaho where the number of wolves outnumber those of the Park almost three to one.

Readers will enjoy a number of photographs of wolves and wolf interactions with other animals in the photo insert in the middle of the book. Many of these, such as those in the Park's remote Pelican Valley, could only be taken by the Park's wolf biologists.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. Lowry on June 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an engaging and informed account of perhaps the most important environmental story in recent years, the successful reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. The authors have been involved in this project from the ground up, and it shows. They provide an impressive amount of information but even more important, they use some fascinating stories to convey the behavior of these remarkable animals. I've been fortunate enough to see the Yellowstone wolves, but when I see them the next time, it will be in a new light.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Madison on June 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read with great interest this next chapter in the ongoing drama of the wolf restoration to Yellowstone National Park. Ten years ago I studied the works of Smith, as a biologist on that effort, as well as Mech, Phillips, Ferguson, Schullery, Askins, and others in preparation for writing my novel, "Woman's Sigh, Wolf's Song". I became familiar then with 31 wolves bearing numbers instead of names, and in this book Smith and Ferguson gave me the unique pleasure of discovering how their families have fared since 1995. This very public controversy was well-documented a decade ago by Smith and fellow project leader, Michael Phillips, and here Smith and Ferguson continue to tell the story with the voice of those who have followed pawprints in the snow and fallen asleep with the scent of wolf on their hands. The photographs lend to their text a sense of reality - what it is like to manage wild animals in a wild environment. Without question the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone has been a stunning success - for the ecology of the park, it's animal residents, and the humans that visit. Smith and Ferguson were there at the beginning and tell this story with heart and mind both fully engaged, not only for the wolves, but also the human residents that surround the park. For those interested in the whole 10-year story I recommend Smith and Phillips, "The Wolves of Yellowstone", and Ferguson's, "The Yellowstone Wolves". Thanks, gentlemen, for a new look at the canis major family album.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By windypass on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have followed the wolf reintroduction project with great interest since the very beginning. After many trips to Yellowstone and time spent hiking and camping in the backcountry of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem since the wolf reintroduction; I have yet to see a wolf in the wild. However, hearing them howl in the woods at night is enough to give a person goosebumps. Just knowing they are out there is enough for me.

This book is an excellent summary of the wolf reintroduction project and how the wolves have fared up to this point. The first hand accounts from Doug Smith about his experiences over the years will make you yearn to have the job and type of lifestyle that he is able to live everyday. Yet, this book is very realistic about the future of the wolves in Yellowstone and beyond. We all must learn to come together to make this world a better place, one step at a time. Until a balance can be found between the environmentalists and "big business" we will be less likely to see such a huge undertaking again to return some of last pieces of wilderness in the United States back to what they might of been so many years ago.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in where the Yellowstone wolves are now and for anyone who has fallen in love with the majestic landscape of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We have a great deal to be proud of and we owe Doug Smith, Mr. Babbitt and all the others who were brave enough not only to imagine but to actually take the steps needed to reintroduce this great animal back to a small area in which they used to roam.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on April 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone park has been one of the most controversial feats of conservation of all time.

In this book, the project manager who supervised this effort tells the story of the release and the ten years of history that have followed. He had an interesting task of making the project work with the Farm Bureau on one side of the battle, and the Sierra Club on the other. Then there are the well meaning tourists, and the poachers.

In spite of it all, the reintroduction has prospered. the wolves have survived and in so doing changed the ecosystem of the park. In so doing, much more has been learned about the wolf behavior. The individual packs have been carefully studied, the pack dynamic, the survival of cubs in the wilderness, all have taught scientists more about wolf behavior.

The stories are not uniformly plesant, the pack has survived, but not all members. There's the story, for instance, of a mother chasing an elk and running into a stick that pierced her chest and killed her. No one else would take over her pups and they died.

This is a fascinating story of a decade of conservation.
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