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Wolves of the Rocky Mountains: from Jasper to Yellowstone


By: Dekker, Dick
ISBN: 0-88839-416-0
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Pages: 240
Photos: 0
Illustrations: 0
Publication Date: 1997



Dick Dekker's Wolves of the Rocky Mountains chronicles not only his 33 years of wolf watching in the wilds of Alberta's Jasper National Park, but also is an unbiased insight into the science and politics of ever-controversial wolf management. Dick's balanced perspective comes from his many years of observation, a directorship in the Canadian Wolf Defenders, participation in scientific wolf conferences, and from publishing his own wolf information. In this most recent book, he has woven a comprehensive story that needs to be told. It is the story of wolves in the Canadian wilderness, of their survival during the lean years prior to the 1970's, and of their ultimate triumph as the source population for the dramatic reintroductions to Yellowstone. The recent transplants of wolves from Alberta and British Columbia to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho were as controversial as the animals themselves and a story in itself, like no other. When the United States Fish and Wildlife Service first asked Alberta for wolves in August 1994, Dick and I thought it would be a win-win situation. Wolves would be returned to habitats without a wolf howl for nearly 100 years, thousands of Americans would be able to enjoy their presence, and Canadians could participate in a positive way. To a certain extent, all of this happened, but not without tremendous controversy, court decisions and ferocious battles between governments, environmental and wilderness organizations, landowners and wolf lovers. This book details the background of the ancient wolf-human relationship and explains why this transplant was so contentious. Dick's fascination with wildlife centers on predators. For much of the past 40 years and at his own expense, he has watched peregrine falcons, red foxes, wolves and other predators do what comes naturally. But, he has done more than that. He has written of his adventures with the color and understanding first-hand experience. Wolves have become one of the most studied of earth's creatures. We now know that wolf predation is highly complex and can be an important limitation to prey populations. As wolves are returned to more and more of their original North American range, a good understanding of their role and effect is required. With more knowledge, the dilemma of wildlife managers-how to provide abundant hoofed mammals and, at the same time, maintain healthy populations of wolves-will be better appreciated. Reestablished wolves in Yellowstone and other former habitats of the American West will undoubtedly bring some problems for cattlemen, and perhaps in time reduced big game for hunters. Nevertheless, surely there is some room here for one of the world's most tenacious and interesting large carnivores. The general public needs to know the full story of wolves and wolf management, and this book is a great step in that direction.

Author Biography

Dick Dekker has observed wolves in Jasper since 1964. He has written widely about wildlife and is the author of Naturalist-Painter (1980), Wild Hunters (1985), Prairie Water (1991), and Hawks - Hunters on the Wing (1996).

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