The Return of Wolves
An Iconic Predator’s Struggle to Survive in the American West
by Eli Francovich
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 11 Apr 2023
The gray wolf has made an astonishing comeback in Washington. Nearly eradicated by the 1990s, conservationists and environmentalists have cheered its robust return to the state over the last two decades. But Washington ranchers are not so joyous. When wolves prey on livestock, ranchers view their livelihood as under attack.
In The Return of Wolves, journalist Eli Francovich investigates how we might mend this divide while keeping wolf populations thriving. He finds an answer in the time-honored tradition of range riding and one passionate range rider, Daniel Curry, who has jumped directly into the fray by patrolling the rural Washington landscape on horseback. Curry engages directly with farmers, seeking to protect livestock from wolves while also protecting and proliferating wolf populations. In The Return of Wolves, we meet an eclectic cast of players—local ranchers, politicians, environmentalists, and everyday folks caught in the middle—and find hope for the future of wolves, and perhaps for our divided nation.
“A solidly reported work that captures the nuance of wildlife conservation in the midst of political division. The author attempts to accurately convey the motives and perspectives of people from across the wolf restoration debate.” —Libary Journal
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
I appreciate Eli Francovich writing this book. Francovich brings you with him on his quest to find out why the wolf stirs such emotion. I enjoyed the first half of the book immensely, as we ride along with him on a scary horseback ride with a range rider, Daniel Curry, who protects both the wolf and the cattle they are accused of killing. This is Daniel's story as well as the wolves. Mr. Francovich's writing is funny, interesting and magical. It is almost as if you can hear the quiet as you walk with him through the woods. You feel the awe and fear when he sees his first wolf.
And then it is almost as if he leaves you at a crossroads. The last half tells of committees and government agencies and people who work to protect the wolf, those who think they should exterminated, and those who walk the fine line of management. In hearings and meetings, it shows how humans won't agree on anything unless they themselves are getting everything they want. It's not what's best for the subject, it's just that people, whichever "side" you are on can't be seen as wrong.
This book ended before I expected it. Or even wanted it to. I wanted to be back in those quiet woods.
Thank you NetGalley and Timberpress for the advanced read.
A wonderful natural history title in the vein of H Is For Hawk; this book follows the journey of one of the most beguiling, secretive creatures on Earth. Almost lost to extinction as human encroachment onto their lands destroyed their habitats and food sources, the return of wolves presents a ray of hope for the future of the natural world.
The fascinating, sly, and often dangerous creatures in this book aren't the wolves but the people who entangle themselves with them, whether out of choice or not. Reading this book gave me new insight into the complex tangle of opinions, policies, and beliefs that accompany wolves as they reclaim territory lost decades before. The author interview and follows varied stakeholders, giving them respectful space. And like the range rider he profiles, Francovich helps us navigate the territories in between the ranchers and the public forests.
Reading this book has certainly given me a more nuanced appreciation of what happens with the reintroduction of wolves in our wild, and not so wild, spaces.