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Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species Paperback – April 30, 1981


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (April 30, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816610266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816610266
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since the dawn of history, no other living thing (save, possibly, the snake) has been as reviled by humankind as the wolf. Still, wolves and people have been drawn to each other since the beginning. Canis lupus bounds through our folklore, howls in our dreams, and--occasionally--competes with us on the hunt. As one zoologist imagines it: "Through the cold of winter the wolf made music in the mysterious darkness and sometimes, in curiosity, sat just beyond the dwindling circle of firelight and watched." The curiosity was mutual; this is the feared animal, ironically, that gave rise to man's best friend. Yet only recently has science begun to understand these complex social mammals. Enter biologist L. David Mech. Years of research during the 1960s in Michigan's Isle Royale National Park provided Mech with a level of firsthand knowledge shared by few in the field. In 1970 he compiled his findings (updated in 1980) into the preeminent document of its kind. Thomas McNamee, author of The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone, calls the book the "best single source of information on wolf biology," and refers to its author as "the undisputed king of wolf research." When government officials in the early 1990s decided to embark on an ambitious project to reintroduce wolves into their former range of Yellowstone National Park, they called on Mech's expertise. All this is to say that, if you want to learn about wolves, you cannot ignore this seminal work or its author. Chapters cover wolf evolution, range, and physiology; society and pack behavior; reproduction; hunting and predator-prey relationships; and the species' uncertain future. Like any self-respecting scientist, Mech includes all the hard data, but he presents his work in an engaging manner that is accessible to a broader audience, drawing heavily on anecdotes and personal experience.

"Many people strongly dislike the wolf," Mech writes, "others rush to its defense. But no one denies that the animal is strong, powerful, intelligent, keen, and dynamic." While persecution by man has severely restricted its current status, the tide is turning, thanks to education and conservation efforts. After all, a night without a howl echoing somewhere across the landscape would surely be a colder, less alive night. --Langdon Cook


More About the Author

L. David Mech is a senior research scientist with the Biological Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book fascinates every wolf lover even more of this species, and those, who haven't decided yet what to think about wolves, might start to love them and "fight" for the recovery of this species. It gives many details about behaviour, ecology, and conservation of wolves. Despite being written in the 90ths most of its information is still up to date. This book is used by many students, but is equally suitable for the interested public as Mech manages to describe the facts in clear, understandable words. It is highly recommendable for people who want to learn more about wolves.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christian J. Graham on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I simply wish to echo what was said in the previous two reviews of this book. If one wants a primer on wolves for lab, classroom or at home reading this is the one to get.
It is a highly enjoyable book easy to understand for a wide ranging audience. It is my hope this book will inspire it's readers to probe deeper and consider reading further on the topic, for example: Wolves of Minong: Isle Royale's Wild Community (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) by Durward Leon Allen.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Miss SL Elvin on January 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
For anyone with a serious interest in Wolf Ecology or Dog Psychology this is a'Must Read!'. In the book Mech draws on his own observations of wolf behaviour, as well as those of other influential wolf researchers. Full of information and observation on the ecology, sociology, behaviour and communication of wolves, I have found this book invaluable in my research into Dog Physcology, and have even applied some of what I learnt from its pages to the training of my Inuit pup.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lycanthrope on March 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species" is an excellent book on wolves, however it was written in 1968 (published in 1970) and the information in it is no longer entirely accurate. A more current version of Dr. Mech's research is Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation from 2003.

Best Wildlife Book Award by the Symposium on Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in 1974
Best Terrestrial Wildlife Publications Award by the Wildlife Society in 1972
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Pasda on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Wonderfully statistical, this book has not to do with the photos, but the information presented. Mr Mech has opened our eyes with his other books, and this on clearly defines the treatment of wolves by governments over the world and shows us how the ecology of the world is in fragile balance. One an learn how wolf packs travel for food, how they eat and how much an how they cope with the environment and the hazards hidden within it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Robison on January 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book for the needed information. I purchased this book for a friend that was going to be taking a test with our state conservation dept to get a permit so they could keep their wolves. They read this book and passed the test the first time. Very good information!!
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