Bringing Back the Gray Wolf
Bringing Back the Gray Wolf
Joining the Red List
Wolves are territorial animals, which means they are attached to the territory where they hunt and live. They do not often leave their territories. Where wolves’ territories overlap with human settlements and farms, wolves often have been hunted to extinction. In Europe, wolves were killed or driven into wilderness regions because they preyed on livestock. When European settlers arrived in North America, they began farming in wolf territories. They saw the wolf as a threat to their livestock. The settlers also killed deer and elk for food. The wolf lost both its hunting territory and its food source. Without their natural prey, some wolves began to attack livestock to survive.
The topics are very similar between the books in the series although the titles vary somewhat. The first section presents basic facts about the species followed by the risks to both the species and the environment. Then there are sections about plans and actions for the recovery of both the animals and the habitat. This is followed by a look at the future and at related species especially those in other areas of the world. Finally, there are pages on what you can do to aid in the endeavor to save animal.
As with other nonfiction works, there are lists of books and online materials for leaning more, a glossary of terms used throughout the book and an index. The suggested books include both similar works aimed at young children and weightier works of one hundred pages or more. The websites are the same; some have activities and summaries while others are conservation sites for adults or are university sites with information about the species. These references are a good combination of materials to meet the needs of any reader and works to extend their knowledge and take them into more detailed expertise. Further resources are available online for both students and teachers (although some of these are not ready yet) using the books in this series.
The relationship between wolves and humans has always been difficult since they are large predators, the largest member of the dog family. Both sides of this relationship are covered admirably in Bringing Back the Gray Wolf. Although this book emphasizes the work of bringing back the gray wolf in the United States, there is also information on Canada and wolves around the world. The photographs are especially evocative in this book in the series, particularly the abundant pictures of wolves, their pups and the environment. O’Brien has also done a great job of expressing the problems involved in bringing back a species that is both loved and reviled.
Each of these books and the animals chosen is appealing in its own way. If there is one constant, it is that the animals are all large – giant pandas and alligators, huge whales and grizzly bears, large wolves and whooping cranes as tall as people. This approach seems planned to attract young people and also seems a successful strategy, a good way to attract readers of many ages. There are several areas where the focus is on American species and habitats, and it would have been nice if there were more Canadian and worldwide content.
The content of the “Animals Back From the Brink” series contains exactly the kind of approach we want children to embrace as they grow into their future roles in society. Even though the books will fit perfectly into school curricula, they are also simply good read-for-fun books. At least one would be a great addition to a personal library, and all would fit comfortably into a school library.
Willow Moonbeam is a librarian living in Toronto, Ontario, with almost enough yarn and books to keep her going.