"Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

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"Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by Noctis_ » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:42 pm

This winter, I received a wolf book as a gift- "Never Cry Wolf", by Farley Mowat, published 1963. This is an excerpt from the preface:
Never Cry Wolf is based on two summers and a winter that I spent in the subarctic regions of southern Keewatin Territory and northern Manitoba as a biologist studying wolves and caribou. For most of that period I was employed by the federal government of Canada, and a report on the wolf studies I conducted has been on file with my employer since 1948... Unfortunately, my major contention- that the wolf does not pose a threat to other species and is neither a danger nor a real competitor of man- remains largely unaccepted... Of the twenty-four wolf subspecies and races inhabiting North America at the beginning of the European invasion, seven are now extinct and most of the remainder are endangered. The wolf has been effectively exterminated in all of the south-central portions of Canada, in Mexico, and in almost all of the United States south of Alaska. However, until recently an estimated 20,000 still shared the forests and arctic tundra with multitudes of moose, deer, caribou, and elk. Now the use of aircraft, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles has enabled such numbers of sport killers to penetrate this relatively inaccessible region that the stocks of "big game" animals therein have been dangerously depleted. This has ignited a furious and duplicitous outcry from hunters, outfitters, guides, lodge owners, and other financially interested parties against the wolf: "Wolves are destroying the game animals- our game animals! The wolves have got to go!"
Who listens to this accusation? Governments listen. Most, if not all, provincial and state departments of fish and game are little more than Trojan horses of the sport killer lobby. And that lobby is extremely well organized and funded. Its members bring almost irresistible influence to bear on governments to protect game animals from their natural predators so sport killers can continue to find a sufficient number of live targets for their weapons.
The preponderance of expert, independent opinion (as distinct from that of hired-gun biologists employed by government game departments) agrees that the wolf serves a vital role in maintaining the long-term well-being of its prey species, is not a threat to human beings, is responsible for only minor losses of domestic stock, and for the most part will not even live in proximity to human settlements or agricultural enterprises. This is the truth of the matter.
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, not more than a reflected image of ourselves. We have made it the scapewolf for our own sins.
As 1993 draws on, it is clear that a massive and concerted effort is being made by the sport killers to apply a final solution to the "wolf problem". The last refuge of the species- the forest, mountains, and tundra of the North- is to be swept clean of this plague. In 1993 in Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and northern Alberta alone, terminal massacres of wolves from the air and on the ground are being planned or conducted by captive fish and game departments, supported by the hunting fraternity and by others who make their profits from letting the blood of wild creatures.
There is a considerable likelihood that the holy conspiracy of government "game managers", self-serving politicos, and self-styled conservation organizations devoted to "enhancing" the supply of big-game targets will succeed. Only the most resolute and implacable resistance to this cabal of death dealers can now prevent the commission of one more major atrocity against life on earth- the annihilation of the wolf.

I haven't had a chance to really begin the book yet- mainly, I've been jumping around the chapters, reading bits here and there.
From what I've gathered from what I've read so far, this book is meant to create an emotional attachment between the reader and wolves, by telling the stories of wolf families Farley Mowat observed during his time in the regions above mentioned. There are also personal accounts of his time there with the First Nation populations, and experiments he attempted (at one point he goes on a diet of mice to simulate a wolf's diet when elk/caribou are not available).

I'm considering posting excerpts I find amusing, interesting, or thought-provoking here to share with the WolfQuest community as I read the book. Is there any interest here for this possibility?
Last edited by Noctis_ on Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: "Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by wolf_whisperer98 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:12 am

Noctis_ wrote:I'm considering posting excerpts I find amusing, interesting, or thought-provoking here to share with the WolfQuest community as I read the book. Is there any interest here for this possibility?
It would be interesting considering how I'm a huge fan of that book, however, you would need to contact an admin to get clarification. Just to be on the safe side! :)
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Re: "Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by paperpaws » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:18 am

I would be interested in seeing some of those excerpts as well. As long as the content is in line with the WolfQuest Forum Guidelines, I believe there should not be any issue. To my knowledge, sharing excerpts of the book shouldn't be any issue either in terms of copyright (as long as you're not sharing entire chapters and whatnot), so do go ahead :)
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Re: "Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by loboLoco » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:41 am

It's a very enjoyable book, but bear in mind that Dave Mech and other scientists consider it to be basically fiction. Here's a summary: http://wolfology1.tripod.com/id155.htm
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Re: "Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by SolitaryHowl » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:15 pm

loboLoco wrote:It's a very enjoyable book, but bear in mind that Dave Mech and other scientists consider it to be basically fiction. Here's a summary: http://wolfology1.tripod.com/id155.htm
I agree with this, take this book with a grain of salt. At best it is fiction, at worst it is portraying the wolves as something they are not.

Mowat never spent time alone in the arctic (he was with a team of 3 other biologists), never published any scientific reports, plagiarized from other wolf researchers, and blatantly lied at times in the book (i.e.: He says wolves mainly eat rodents which is not true, they eat ungulates like deer, moose, elk, etc).

While I believe that book did help the wolf's cause in the public eye, it is important to not romanticize the wolf.
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Re: "Never Cry Wolf" - A book by Farley Mowat

Post by Noctis_ » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:19 pm

SolitaryHowl wrote:
loboLoco wrote:It's a very enjoyable book, but bear in mind that Dave Mech and other scientists consider it to be basically fiction. Here's a summary: http://wolfology1.tripod.com/id155.htm
I agree with this, take this book with a grain of salt. At best it is fiction, at worst it is portraying the wolves as something they are not.

Mowat never spent time alone in the arctic (he was with a team of 3 other biologists), never published any scientific reports, plagiarized from other wolf researchers, and blatantly lied at times in the book (i.e.: He says wolves mainly eat rodents which is not true, they eat ungulates like deer, moose, elk, etc).

While I believe that book did help the wolf's cause in the public eye, it is important to not romanticize the wolf.
I was aware, to an extent- although I haven't gotten into the book yet (as previously stated), some "experiments" he conducted were very far from scientific. One of the excerpts I was considering sharing was the portion where he describes his "experiment" with a mouse diet, which I was intending on pointing out the flaws of. In the preface, Mowat actually condemns scientists. My impression of the book was that it has more value in entertainment purposes than educational/scientific ones.
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