Customer Reviews: Decade of the Wolf, Revised and Updated: Returning The Wild To Yellowstone
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on April 24, 2005
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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on June 23, 2005
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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on June 1, 2016
Fascinating! I really enjoyed reading this book and have since read several others about wolves in the US. We have historically vilified wolves and hunted them to near extinction... this book helped me understand the value of predators and their very important place in the natural world. It was a pretty easy read, full of word pictures that helped me appreciate this formidable animal. I can't wait for our next visit to Yellowstone!
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on August 3, 2005
Many books have been written about Canis Lupis since it attained nationwide fame as a preditory species reintroduced to a National Park. I have read most of them and Decade of the Wolf has to be one of the very best. Those who have read extensively about this fascinating species will be charmed by this book and those who have not done so will be stimulated to learn even more than it contains.
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on September 22, 2005
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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on June 16, 2005
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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on November 1, 2012
This book is very well written and doubly interesting. They tell the real life stories of the Park and the wolves. Makes you want to go to Yellowstone and volunteer your time to them. I've read 3 books so far about the restoring of the wolves in Yellowstone and this one is by far the best. Couldn't put it down.
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on April 13, 2014
I am preparing for a field trip to Yellowstone and my instructor recommended I read this book before going. It gives you an idea of all they had to go through to reintroduce wolves. There are so many stories on the wolves themselves, the packs and what the biologists have learned that is unique to yellowstone.
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on October 17, 2014
Amazing coverage of the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction. A must read by the people who were there making it all happen. Does a good job covering both sides of the story and touching on the controversy - yet keeping things in perspective and not standing on a soap box.
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on January 16, 2013
This review is about the second edition, issued as paperback.

Having been to Yellowstone NP this past summer for the first time since the Wolf Program started, this book has been of very special interest to me. We did get to see several wolves, and the crowds waiting to see them. Really great experiences, also this realization that so many people care. So getting some background info with this book was of special interest indeed. And as a biologist, I was particularly keen on getting to know both about the problems of the reintroduction and about the individual characters of this fascinating species. Also, just reading about what it takes on sustained individual efforts and dedication has been most impressive.

This book is a very easy read, over all. However, it tends to be a bit repetitious at times. Quite often, I think the additions written for this second edition were not as well integrated into the original text; or the original text did not get a sufficient redoing, whichever.

But what bothered me most was the lack of any decent map showing the major locations mentioned in the book. There are only two maps with pack distributions, comparing 1995, the onset, and 2010, after 15 years. But not a single location label, and no roads. Even with the map received at the park entrance, I have not been able to find all the locations. There would have been ample room on the inside covers, for example, for such maps.

Finally, I am saddened about the fact that it's so easy to shoot wolves right outside the park boundaries. Clearly, there is a need to create some sort of buffer zone around the park where wolves are still fully protected. Just the idea that any idiot can shoot out of his window at night at anything he sees makes me sick. This country still has a long way to go before it can consider itself to be a civilized nation.
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