Friday, May 2, 2014

Hearing wolves

The howling of a wolf-pack is a sound I’ve always wanted to hear. As a youngster, I read Never Cry Wolf, Farley Mowat’s fictionalized account of his encounters with wolves in the Canadian sub-Arctic. After that book I spent a summer listening for wolves in the mountains to no avail. After all, the last wolves in the Coast Range were seen in the early 1900’s, long before my time. But there is hope for me yet. Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz chronicles his journeys throughout the Pacific Northwest. He tracks the wolf-packs who are reestablishing themselves in our mountains and observes what happens when wolves return to the landscape. His writing matches the grace of the animals he observes, bringing to life the wild that surrounds us.

Moskowitz explores the impact of large predators such as bears, cougars and wolves on their habitat and on their prey. Taking his reader from the Imnaha Pack in far northeastern Oregon to the ocean swimming wolves on Vancouver Island to the Lookout Pack in the north Washington Cascades, he explores their hunting patterns, denning locations, social interactions and the threats they face from two-legged predators. At the same time, he provides excellent information about the wolves’ prey animals and how they benefit from being a favorite wolf dinner. Filled with up close photography of these icons of the wilderness, this is a book to savor.

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