“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”Never Cry Wolf
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat is a mixture of many different genres. It is one part memoir, one part adventure, one part scientific journalism, and another part nature nonfiction. Can I add humor to this? You know what, I am adding it. There were a few lines that made me laugh. Farley Mowat is an environmentalist that was sent to study the wolves that were viciously attacking large herds of caribou. What he discovers is quite the opposite. He is surprised to discover that it isn’t the wolves that are attacking the caribou and details the family unit of a pack of wolves. While some of the details of this book have been criticized, it still makes a point. We have often portrayed wolves as ruthless killers. How many movies, books, and folklore tales have wolves as the villain? So many. This book is meant to give credit where credit is due. We now have evidence that we actually need wolves to maintain ecosystems.
“The wolf never kills for fun, which is probably one of the main differences distinguishing him from man.Never Cry Wolf
One of the things that I loved most about this book, is the author’s reliance on local indigenous peoples, particularly the Inuit. They helped him learn how to live in the harsh environment and the wisdom they have of the area including information about the animals and nature. I love how he respected and wanted to learn from them.
I also loved how he viewed the wolves. He meticulously studied the family unit which was led by George. (Mowat named him George to make reading the novel a little easier.) He had a mate. Wolves will actually mate for life. If a mate dies, they have been known to take a new mate. But they normally partner for life. This partnership had a few pups in tow. He watched as the parents taught them how to hunt. He also watched them play together as a family. But who could forget about Uncle Albert, another male in the family unit?! He often helped care for the pups. His love story with a husky is detailed as well.
While I see why many people criticized this book, I still absolutely loved it. It helps shine a light on the family-oriented wolves and tries to steer people away from the villainous portrayals. And it made me happy that wolves are one of my favorite animals. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.