Of Wilderness and Wolves

Of Wilderness and Wolves

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All scholars or general readers interested in wolf ecology and conservation will want to add this volume to their library.”—CHOICE  

"Paul L. Errington had an iconic presence in the field of wildlife science. His ideas transformed modern-day thinking and his touch—honed from time alone in the wild—is rare in this day. Together, and with his eloquent writing style, these things linger and are still part of our thinking.”—Douglas W. Smith, author, Wolves on the Hunt 

“Paul Errington’s Of Wilderness and Wolves is prescient, eloquent, and still relevant to American wolf politics, despite waiting half a century to be published. This book, contextualized in Matthew Wynn Sivils’s helpful introduction, will appeal to lovers of wolves, wilderness, and…Aldo Leopold.”—Scott Slovic, University of Idaho

“I was a predator, myself, and lived close to the land.” With these words, Paul L. Errington begins this lost classic. Now in print for the first time, the book celebrates a key predator: the wolf. One of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, Errington melds his expertise in wildlife biology with his love for natural beauty to create a visionary and often moving re-examination of humanity’s relationship with these magnificent and frequently maligned animals.

Tracing his own relationship with wolves from his rural South Dakota upbringing through his formative years as a professional trapper to his landmark work as an internationally renowned wildlife biologist, Errington delves into our irrational fear of wolves. He forthrightly criticizes what he views as humanity’s prejudice against an animal that continues to serve as the very emblem of the wilderness we claim to love, but that too often falls prey to our greed and ignorance. A friend of Aldo Leopold, Errington was an important figure in the conservation efforts in the first half of the twentieth century. During his lifetime, wolves were considered vicious, wantonly destructive predators; by the mid-1900s, they had been almost completely eliminated from the lower forty-eight states. Their reintroduction to their historical range today remains controversial.

Lyrical yet unsentimental, Of Wilderness and Wolves provides a strong and still-timely dose of ecological realism for the abusive mismanagement of our natural resources. It is a testament to our shortsightedness and to Errington’s vision that this book, its publication so long delayed, still speaks directly to our environmental crises.