Review by Mia Cobb
The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf
By T DeLene Beeland
This is the story of the red wolf, Canis rufus, the species’ flirtation with extinction and its fragile restoration to a wild peninsula region. The book is made up of three parts: The red wolf today; The red wolf yesterday and The red wolf tomorrow. We join the author as she follows the debated origins and historic range of this species, their removal to captivity and effective extinction in the wild, captive-breeding program and return as the first wolf to be reintroduced in the USA, to today’s heavily managed population of less than 200 animals at risk from hybridisation, human and environmental threats.
This book is an honest account of the complexities of managing an endangered species. The story is thick with science: genetics, anatomy, ecology, botany, ethology, hydrology, sociology, psychology, politics, history, meteorology, conservation biology, geology and more. The narration is fair to opposing views on controversial areas and the reader is left to come to their own conclusions as to the origins and future survival prospects for this shy and enigmatic wolf. The reader is given the inside view on the conditions leading to where the red wolf is now, and where it might go in the future. This is a story of how scientific evidence thrives or fails in reality, depending on the people surrounding it.
This book will hold appeal to anyone with a love for nature, interest in wildlife conservation, the natural history of endangered species or the science and daily reality of threatened animal reintroduction programs.
Mia Cobb is a canine researcher and science communicator. She is a member of the Anthrozoology Research Group, covers all manner of things canine at Do You Believe in Dog? and co-hosts the Human Animal Science podcast. When not reading books about wolves, Mia is stepping ever-closer to completion of her PhD examining kennelled working dog stress, welfare and performance.