Biology, Books for the News

The debate over the return of the wolf

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The New York Times website is running an article and multimedia feature about the first legal wolf hunt in the lower forty-eight states in the last 35 years. Having made an extraordinary comeback in many states, the American gray wolf was recently removed from the list of endangered species by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. And in states like Idaho, some claim that the wolf has not only made a comeback, but that its growing populations are now large enough to threaten the lives and livelihoods of ranchers and other rural dwellers. Sportsmen eager to track down these “world class predators” are busy preparing for a unique opportunity in the hunting world while environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife say that the delisting of wolves will only return the species to near extinction status and destroy an essential part of many ecosystems throughout North America. With both groups claiming that the science supports their point of view, the question of managing wolf populations is a contentious one.
But for the rest of us, L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani’s Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, offers the most systematic, comprehensive overview of wolf biology since 1970. In Wolves, many of the world’s leading wolf experts provide state-of-the-art coverage of just about everything you could want to know about these fascinating creatures. Individual chapters cover wolf social ecology, behavior, communication, feeding habits and hunting techniques, population dynamics, physiology and pathology, molecular genetics, evolution and taxonomy, interactions with nonhuman animals such as bears and coyotes, reintroduction, interactions with humans, and conservation and recovery efforts.
Unrivalled in scope and comprehensiveness, Wolves is the definitive resource on these extraordinary animals for scientists and amateurs alike.
Read an excerpt.