The Great American Wolf

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For close to four hundred years, the wolf was the continent’s most reviled animal. It became the object of a passionate, brutal hatred of the type humans usually reserved for members of their own kind. “Hundreds of thousands of wolves were trapped, poisoned, shot, or dynamited in their dens,” Bruce Hampton writes. Many suffered deaths that carried the marks of revenge, such as being burned alive or scalped; others had their mouths wired shut or their eyes pierced to starve to death. Then, within the past quart century, public and scientific opinion reversed itself, and the wolf became the emblem of wildness, tolerated and even desired in its former range.
On a Blustery day in January 1995, twenty-nine gray wolves, previously captured in Canada, were released into central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. This wolf reintroduction was hailed as an environmental success story of first importance – the culmination of one of the most bitterly fought conservation battles in recent history. It also marked the end of what the author describes as “the longest, most relentless, and most ruthless persecution of one species has ever wages against another.” That the two predators, wolves and humans, evolved along paralleled paths and were once the earth’s most widely distributed land mammals adds poignancy to this definitive natural history. For close to four hundred years, the wolf was the continent’s most reviled animal. It became the object of a passionate, brutal hatred of the type humans usually reserved for members of their own kind. “Hundreds of thousands of wolves were trapped, poisoned, shot, or dynamited in their dens,” Bruce Hampton writes. Many suffered deaths that carried the marks of revenge, such as being burned alive or scalped; others had their mouths wired shut or their eyes pierced to starve to death. Then, within the past quart century, public and scientific opinion reversed itself, and the wolf became the emblem of wildness, tolerated and even desired in its former range. How this respect was won and the wolf’s probable future are highlights of this vivid and comprehensive account, which serves as a vital contribution to our understanding of wildlife and wilderness management at the close of the millennium.

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Weight 12.6 oz
Condition

Very Good

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