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The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons From the…

The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons From the Sawtooth Pack

by Jim Dutcher

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The writers of this book were making a documentary because they wanted to promote a new image of wolves. They wanted viewers to stop seeing the "Big Bad Wolf" of Fairy tales and instead see a very social animal with deeply human reactions and emotions. This book does an excellent job of portraying this new vision of wolves. I loved the different wolves portrayed in this book. I loved their unique and individual stories.
It was an educational and fun read which I highly recommend to all nature and wolf lovers.

My only complaint about this book, and it is very much an issue of personal preference, is that the Sawtooth pack weren't actually wild wolves.

These wolves were fed by humans and hand raised as pups so that those documenting them could move safetly among them.

This is very much an artificial wolf pack made by the makers of the documentary. The makers did research to be sure that the behaviors they were viewing in their wolves were typical of wild wolves and that being around humans wasn't altering their wolf behaviors. But, it still bothered me that these wolves weren't being observed in the wild. The artificial nature of the pack was the main thing that I didn't like in this book. Otherwise, it was amazing and I really enjoyed it. ( )
  authorjanebnight | Dec 26, 2018 |
This book really told the wonderful story of the Sawtooth Pack of wolves from 2 insiders, who lived with the wolves for about 6 years. I am looking forward to see their film and reading more about these wolves. We were lucky enough to see (from about a mile away) the Lamar Canyon wolf pack in Yellowstone in March 2018 and it was a wonderful experience. These animals have so much to teach us humans!! ( )
  Katyefk | Nov 29, 2018 |
Your reaction of this book will depend on what you are looking for. First, obviously you have to have an interest in wolves, which I do, and second if you are looking for a book about wolves in the wild, this one will not appeal. For me, it was exactly what I was looking for, a controlled environment that allowed the Dutchers a first hand look at wolf behavior. Each chapter is preceded by a photo, by books end all the wolves in their orbit were shown. Beautiful animals.

Not only did I get to see each wolf's picture but I also learned about their different personalities, their role in the pack. How they played, where they gave birth, how they mourned when a pack member died or was killed. These animals have many of the same emotions and traits thatwe have, empathy, sensitivity, playfulness, loyalty, grief, curiousity. The cooperation between wolves and Ravens, how they use each other to search out food. I felt like I really got to know these wolves personally and missed them already at books end.

The background of the Dutchers, the reintroduction of wolves at Yellowstone, wolves at Denali are also a part of this book. The fear people have, wanting to kill them when they step out of protected territory, and many are killed that way. There are so horrible statistics given terrible ways these wolves and their pups are killed. Heartbreaking, but as usual many are afraid of something they don't understand.

Anyway this was exactly the book I personally was looking for.

ARC from Edelweiss. ( )
  Beamis12 | Mar 23, 2018 |
There had been a debate raging in the US starting in the 1970s about reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone and other national parks. Historically, wolves have been one of the most vilified animals on the planet, a dangerous even evil predator. How often, for example, are mass murderers called ‘lone wolves’? It was a universally accepted ‘fact’ that wolves needed to be completely eliminated. And, in the US they almost were. But after they were gone, elk herds expanded out of control. The debate was finally settled in the 1990s in favour of reintroduction although the decision was and continues to be vehemently opposed by ranchers and hunters.

Before the start of the program, Jim Dutcher was given permission to do a documentary about wolves in Yellowstone. To truly understand the animal, he felt he had to live in proximity with them. Wolf cubs were brought in from Canada and raised by Jim and his team until they were old enough to live on their own. To ensure the safety of the wolves, a fence was erected and Jim and his team provided food for them to keep the pack from wandering. Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived with the Sawtooth pack for six year, watching and recording their behaviour.

Over the years, they gained the trust of the pack and what they observed looked nothing like the vicious animal of legend. Instead what they saw were distinct individuals but who formed a familial bond, who displayed ‘kindness, teamwork, playfulness, respect, curiosity, and compassion’. In The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack, Jim and Jamie discuss these virtues.

I have no doubt that some would say that, in The Wisdom of Wolves, the Dutchers have anthropomorphized the wolves, attributing to them human characteristics and behaviour that aren’t really there or that, by keeping them in a safe place they changed the normal behaviour. But, throughout the book, the Dutchers give examples of similar behaviour from packs other observers have documented in the wild and from a distance.

The Dutchers not only provide a fascinating view of the behaviours of wolves, they make it clear that, not only are they similar to humans in many surprising ways but that we could learn a great deal from them - by the end, I felt I knew and cared very deeply for the fate of the pack. They also show how important wolves are to the ecosystem. For anyone who believes that nature is a system of interconnected species and that the loss of even one group has a domino effect on the rest or, for that matter, just wants to know more about this beautiful animal, I can’t recommend The Wisdom of Wolves highly enough.

Thanks to Edelweiss and National Geographic for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review ( )
  lostinalibrary | Oct 14, 2017 |
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"From the world-famous couple who lived alongside a three-generation wolf pack, this book of inspiration, drawn from the wild, will fascinate animal and nature lovers alike. For six years Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived intimately with a pack of wolves, gaining their trust as no one has before. In this book the Dutchers reflect on the virtues they observed in wolf society and behavior. Each chapter exemplifies a principle, such as kindness, teamwork, playfulness, respect, curiosity, and compassion. Their heartfelt stories combine into a thought-provoking meditation on the values shared between the human and the animal world. Occasional photographs bring the wolves and their behaviors into absorbing focus"-- "Lessons Jim and Jamie Dutcher learned from six years of living in the Idaho wilderness with gray wolves"--… (more)

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