Dec 5, 2019

The Last Wild Wolves

Ghosts of the Rain Forest
by Ian McAllister

Gorgeous book about a wolf population that lives in the temperate coastal rainforest of Canada- the Great Bear Rainforest. It's an isolated area, cut off from the mainland by a large mountain range, so the wolves there have been unmolested by humans and evolved apart other wolves. The author studied some forty packs in the region and shares his findings in this book, liberally illustrated with some really stunning photographs. He describes the methods of study- it was completely hands-off: the wolves were habituated to a few people following them from a distance while scat and hair samples were taken to determine exactly what they were eating, how they were related, what diseases they'd been exposed to, etc. Reading why, I learned for the first time how being trapped for radio-collaring can be very stressful and traumatizing to a wolf (or any other wild animal I assume). There's some about the wolves' social structure and individual personalities, but a lot of the book is about how the wolves are adapted to live in the coastal environment. Most of their nutrition coming from the sea- they eat shellfish in the tidal zones, beached carcasses of mammals like seals or sea lions, and spawning salmon in the creeks. Only in the winter do they seem to depend on deer for food. They swim between the islands to reach different areas of their habitat, and compete with black and grizzly bears for territory and food. One wolf family denned in the site of a long-since abandoned First Nations village, and the author speculates on what the relationship between wolves and native tribes may have been like in the past. Some wolf trails on the islands were actually worn into the rock, indicating the wolves had used them for literally hundreds of years. I definitely want to read some other books written about the "sea wolves" now- have added Following the Last Wild Wolves to my TBR. The copy of this book I borrowed came with a DVD which I viewed. Some of it was poor in visual quality- grainy, blurry or shaky footage- but it was still wonderful to see on film the landscape and individual wolves described in the book. While the afterward can be sobering- it tells how commercial logging and hunting is finally encroaching into the Great Bear region- looking up the current situation I find websites about eco tours to view the wolves, so I hope the area is more protected now.

Borrowed from the public library.

Rating: 4/5              192 pages, 2007


  1. "Following the Last Wild Wolves" is actually the same book as content goes, just with an update on the wolves and some new photographs in the photo section, but it's not a follow-up book in any case. Just thought I'd give you a heads-up!

  2. Hey, that's good to know.


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