- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Lyons Press; Updated, Revised edition (April 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762779055
- ISBN-13: 978-0762779055
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Decade of the Wolf, Revised and Updated: Returning The Wild To Yellowstone Paperback – April 17, 2012
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From the Back Cover
This updated edition includes additional wolf profiles, newinformation on the effects of climate change and disease, and a retrospective on what the scientists have learned during this extended study of the Yellowstone wolves.
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For laypeople and biologists alike, I highly recommend this book.
The book has two main themes -- the life histories of individual wolves brought to Yellowstone and their packs, and what wildlife biologists actually do to accomplish a successful introduction and gather the histories of these wolves. Both these themes are covered very well in exceptionally graceful writing.
Missing intentionally is a blow by blow history of the political controversy surrounding the introduction, and I am glad for that -- the focus remains on the wolves and how they deal with the challenges they face. The political history has been covered in other books and is a fairly depressing story of people shouting at each other.
The authors ability to describe in remarkable detail on the histories of individual wolves and their packs was aided enormously by the radio collars the placed on select individuals and the high visibility of the wolves in Yellowstone. The picture that emerges is of an enormously rich, complex, dynamic and tough world. Surviving is a constant challenge for a wolf, even in this prey-rich environment, and few wolves make it past 4-5 years old, much younger than the lives of wolves in captivity.
Their is so much information about their behavior that the wolves emerge as distinct individuals with dramatically different personalities and styles. Packs develop unique cultures (e.g. hunting bison). The static alpha male - alpha female hierarchy so often described in other books turns out to be far more variable with much greater roles in some packs for the alpha female and non-alpha wolves.
The authors note how frequently the wolves' behavior continues to them, particularly social behavior. There are far more ways to organize and "run" a wolf pack then previously thought, and the complexity of the dynamics described resembles human social interactions to a remarkable degree.
There is a lot that can be learned even by well-read wolf enthusiasts from reading this book. Yet, for those who are just beginning to read about wolves, this book is a superb introduction to these animals that get more fascinating the more we know about them.
Those who enjoyed the insight into the life of a wildlife biologist in this book would no doubt also enjoy Craig Packer's Into Africa, an account of his work with the social histories of African lion prides.