Skip to main content

Never Cry Wolf is a great book by Farley Mowat. Unfortunately it's almost entirely fiction  which isn't so bad for a book that calls itself an "Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves" what galls is that it is also scientifically a huge whopper. Now you'd think that a book based on lies roundly mocked by the scientific community would never make it far would you. Well as we all know that isn't the case. Farley's book went on to become the sum total of all I knew about wolves for most of my life, which would still be ok except that it also become just about all anyone outside the rare confines of wolf researchers knew about wolves.

The very successful film version by Disney was directed by the same guy as did The Black Stallion. They had a copy of this film at the remote camp in the arctic where I worked in the winter of 89-90. I only saw a piece of it, as we had a regular shift of 16 hours and our work was walking outside. Cold makes one tired. The images of some actor frolicking with malamute puppies in some warm field are all that has stuck with me.

To this day I see the book version listed as a link as if it's a reference material when it has more in common with Black Beauty.


message from me to Farley - Hang Loose Bra

Specifics bellow the tangled web of deceit

Mowat later admitted to fabricating much of his story to gain acceptance and sympathy for the wolf. He did that in spades.

The specifics of the lies are mind boggling. Never spent time alone in the arctic, never published any scientific reports, didn't write the descriptions of wolves at play, simply plagiarized from Adolph Murie one of the worlds great wolf researchers now passed away. He didn't just lift ideas, he did a cut and paste.

One reviewer wrote.

It takes a special sort of person to endure the frozen wilderness to study arctic wolf behavior at length, and to accept that these beautiful animals are intelligent and amazing killing machines that don't need to fulfill people's desires to view them as non-threatening mouse-eaters. Apparently Mr. Mowat just isn't that special sort of person-- but he is a liar.
The greatest lie was that wolves live mostly on small rodents, when every wolf researcher in the world knows wolves eat large prey. Caribou, moose, elk, deer, even beaver for the rich fat supplies, but living on rodents, pure fiction.


Door to our trailer. Entire camp was on skids and would move ever other day or so to keep up with our walking. Fuel trailers in foreground.

Never cry wolf was one of the last books I read by Mowatt. First I read People of the Deer, then And no Birds Sang, and then The Desperate People. Two of the books were about the people we call Eskimos but I think they call themselves something different. Not Inuit, not First Nations People. They live above tree line up past Great Slave Lake in Canada and Mowat told a beautiful heart wrenching tales of desperation and starvation. All that is ruined now as I've no idea if any of it is true.

I have been in some unusual places and seen some unusual things, and I tell of them. But I always try to be as true to my memory and as true to the people who were there  as possible. I wish Farley had done the same.

One can tell of the beauty of an animal such as the gray wolf without embellishment.

Originally posted to ban nock at DKos on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  "Of wolves and men" by Barry Lopez (22+ / 0-)

    has always been in the top five of my favorite books that I have read. It's a book that has the capability of changing your lifestyle.

    Wolves should be cherished and revered. If you study their social structure to any degree it can't but affect the way you go about your own life.

    I love wolves.

    " The whole world is about three drinks behind" Humphrey Bogart.

    by flatford39 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:28:34 PM PST

  •  I've been using it for years (7+ / 0-)

    I use it as the intro to an environmental science (college level) course because there are so many lessons in this novel and movie.

    First, there is the environmental issue: The commercial exploitation of areas that are so fragile.

    Second, the cultural differences are very clearly defined in book and movie. The Inuit need cash, the biologists look at species diversity, the "invaders" are looking for profit.

    This is a really insightful video about cultural, economic and biological movie (and book). Worth the effort.

  •  ... (10+ / 0-)

    http://www.salon.com/...

    Northern exposure
    Farley Mowat may be a Canadian national treasure, but that hasn't stopped his critics from savaging his credibility.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:50:04 PM PST

    •  Thank you for the link, I think I might have read (8+ / 0-)

      parts of that before and it's where I got my basic re evaluation of Farley's tales. I'm really not happy to read that People of the Deer and The Desperate People were also not based on even first hand encounters with Inuit people. Those two books really struck a chord. The Inuit were so long suffering and brave in the face of terrible circumstances, yet he spoke of people by name as if he'd gotten their stories from them personally.

      'The affect of the centerfire rifle and the price of fur, I just don't know how much to believe, it all seemed so true.

      I don't even know if I should recommend his books. They are so good, but then they might well be mostly untrue...

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:17:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The term "Canadian national treasure" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, citizen dan, Kay Observer2

      will have me giggling all morning I suspect.

      Who next, Celine Dion?

      •  The author of the phrase is the Canadian (5+ / 0-)

        who wrote the Salon article with information about Mowat's fictional non-fiction.

        Farley Mowat would be considered a Canadian national treasure just for the frequent kicks he delivers to the American shin and the official enmity he has earned in return. “We Canadians are hardly more than house slaves of the American empire,” he wrote in the 1985 book “My Discovery of America.” “Of course, we are better off than the field slaves of South America.” That’s the book Mowat wrote after he was included on a U.S. government list of undesirables and was subsequently refused entry into the States for a lecture tour.
        The article concludes:
        every country reserves the right to select the figureheads
        that represent it best. We’ve chosen Farley Mowat. Because, as you know, we Canadians are not real sure what we’re all about.

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:56:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, thanks for the background info! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti, ban nock, Kay Observer2

          Doesn't really change what I wrote, however.

          From the outside looking in, if there ever was ever a Canadian who'd entertain being a national treasure it's probably be Terry Fox.

          Although I haven't really been following along closely, so somebody probably debunked the myth of him as well by now . . ..

      •  ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, Onomastic, Kay Observer2

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Awards and honours

        Farley Mowat was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship RV Farley Mowat was named in honour of him and he frequently visits it to assist its mission, and has also provided financial support to the group.[9]

        In 2005 Mowat received the first and only "Life-time Achievement Award" from the National Outdoor Book Award.[10]

        On June 8, 2010, it was announced that he would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:25:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If nothing else, the timing checks out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, Kay Observer2
          On June 8, 2010, it was announced that he would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
          'cuz June's one of only 2 months or so that one might expect the  whole enchilada not to be covered with an impenetrable layer of ice. . .. .  (a problem I'm sure they're counting on the Tar Sands development to eventually solve via Global Warming, but whatever).
  •  This is why I love DKos (7+ / 0-)

    A diary about a book I 've read, seen the movie too, some intelligent comments, then a link to a Salon article that sort of turns everything into a  (reputation) murder mystery!

    Just juxtapose this to what goes  on at, say, Faux News.

    ( I have otherwise dear friends who post so much factually inaccurate crap on facebook-stemming from Faux and conservative web  sites.  It is really starting to bother me...)

  •  RE: wolves and small rodents (15+ / 0-)

    While wolves can eat small rodents in a pinch, their particular niche is the larger prey where their pack cooperation provides the largest calorie bang for their effort expended buck.  The niche of eating rodents is occupied by smaller predators such as fox, wolverine, lynx, and maybe bears (note this list extends from the arctic to the Canadian woods) while raptors also enjoy rodent snacks.

    10,000 dire wolves feasted on megafauna but when the megafauna died out so did the dire wolves.  Despite being socially similar to gray wolves, they were not able to drop down to smaller prey to survive.  So it is with wolves; if larger prey disappears, so do wolves while foxes and coyotes continue in the niches with smaller prey.    

    •  maybe that's parialy why the coyote and fox (11+ / 0-)

      have been so successful? It seems like mostly our country is suburbs and tons and tons of agricultural fields, no place for large species to prey on. lots of mice and rabbits eating corn and wheat and soy.

      Never thought of it that way before.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:32:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I meant 10,000 years ago (10+ / 0-)

        foxterrier pup crawling into my lap interrupted my train of thought.

        Yep coyotes and foxes are more successful because they have adapted more successfully to scrounging garbage and scavenging.  Also their basically solitary natures protect them against human depredation where wolf packs lend themselves more to mass slaughter.

        Also the change in American diet fueled the demise of the wolf because fox are not generally a threat to cattle and coyotes are not usually a threat except to newly thrown calves, wolves were decried by cattle ranchers eager to use government lands to grow beef for the American consumer market.  Therefore were the wolf bounties, strychnine poisonings, leg hold traps and other ways to drive wolves to extinction

      •  BTW speaking of coyotes, here is thing on hunting (3+ / 0-)

        them
        http://www.gunsamerica.com/...

        seems a bit unsporting and I note that livestock damage is blamed on them which, from personal experience in raising bovines, ovines and equines, that damage blamed on them often is the work of coy-dogs, or feral dogs or some kid's fave pampered pet.

        •  coyote hunting blends into non hunting eradication (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kay Observer2, KenBee

          ranchers also use poison and packs of greyhounds. It's a lifelong war. For people who have sheep or other smaller animals coyotes can be a real problem, less so for cattle ranchers.

          Hunters also hunt coyotes for sport especially in the Rocky Mountain West. It usually involves a mouth powered or mechanical call and long range small caliber rifles. It would probably be hard to find a kid who has grown up rural in the west and not hunted coyotes. They are smart, careful, have great eyesight, a keen nose, and every rancher wants them gone. They are part of the reason all these westerners are such crack shots out to three and four hundred yards. Distances us mortals never encounter in normal shooting.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:44:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  having had flocks of a couple hundred sheep at (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock, Kay Observer2, KenBee

            a time, I would say that coydogs, feral dogs and kids' pets are more of a danger to ovines in the East.  Smaller easier prey is abundant and we always used Pyrenees and guard donkeys

            •  I'm interested in those coy dogs in that they are (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kay Observer2, KenBee

              some sort of coyote/dog/wolf mixture and are supposed to have some wolflike traits. Amazing how species will arise to fill a niche.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:44:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the ones around here are mostly larger and middle (4+ / 0-)

                sized breeds mixed with coyotes, Original coyotes were imported from GA for fox hunters to use in their fox pens for their dogs to chase.  Instead the coyotes immediately dug out and set up shop, breeding with local canines.

                i have seen all sorts of mixtures but generally pure coyotes stick to the shadows and treelines and do not cross open fields but utilize hedgerows to travel.  Coydogs will cross open fields and tend to come out of the shadows and treelines more readily

                Original importer was fined $20K by the DNR.

                •  I bet you'd have them now anyway (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ban nock, ER Doc, Kay Observer2, KenBee

                  Apparently they can really travel.  A friend of mine is doing coyote research.  One aspect is tracking radio collared animals.  A couple of individuals have crossed several states.

                  The reason for the study is the growing population around here, central NC.

                  •  I am not surprised; hunters in NC also imported (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ban nock, Kay Observer2, KenBee

                    animals for their fox pens. the only more disastrous re-introduction was the DNR repopulating the area with beaver  

                  •  Coyotes are remarkably versatile & adaptive... (4+ / 0-)

                    Fox populations have suffered some because they tend to say in their environmental niche, and that has been shrinking. Coyotes survive nicely even in suburban environments. My siblings see them regularly in their back yards & on the golf courses in Sun City, AZ. They, along with the whitetail deer, have managed to thrive and expand their range and population numbers beyond what they were in pre-Columbian times.

                    -7.25, -6.26

                    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

                    by ER Doc on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:37:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have read (5+ / 0-)

                      that wolves are easier to hunt because they tend to use the same circuits when they patrol for prey; coyotes are less predictable.  Certainly, coyotes seem far better at hiding themselves and surviving in the transient wild places and in the margins of human society.  Here in Chicago, it's a bit remarkable how many coyotes there are, and they are displacing many of the urban and suburban red foxes.  Used to be a number of foxes along the lakeshore here in Chicago.  With the coyotes expanding along the shipping canals and along the Chicago river, the foxes are starting to disappear.  

                      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

                      by ivorybill on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:03:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Factor in also the virulence of human reaction to (0+ / 0-)

                        wolves vs coyotes. There are generations of ranchers who have never seen a wolf, who still have histrionic reactions to the mere mention, despite no personal experience. It has been carefully taught.

                        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

                        by FarWestGirl on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:22:58 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Many differences between wolves and coyotes (0+ / 0-)

                        One key is "reproductive strategy."  Wolves as apex predators (or whatever the term is) reproduce more slowly.  Coyotes are also a prey species and reproduce at a rate that presumes a high mortality rate.  The predators who once killed them, however, are less compatible with human presence and impact so are absent in many places.  These were the wolves, wolverines, and golden eagles, according to what I read long ago.

                    •  A park wildlife expert in Rock Creek Park in (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      KenBee, ER Doc, ban nock, FarWestGirl

                      WASHINGTON, DC, told me coyotes are now in every state in the lower 48, and in nearly every county.  My first sight of one in the wild was in RCP, around 4am.  It was in a roadside field, pouncing on small rodents or insects -- the same maneuver foxes use for that purpose.  I was shocked, because at that time I hadn't heard that we had coyotes in the park.

                      Pe'Sla isn't safe until the loan is paid off. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe could use some help with that.

                      by Kay Observer2 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:05:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I found one stalking my bichon in the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            park the other evening.  He was about 20 feet behind and was low to the ground, but gaining.  My Bichon was on his leash but 10 feet behind me.  I yelled and charged the coyote but the Bichon and my Bichon mix didn't want to mess with the coyote.  That same evening one jumped a neighbor's fence and made off with their Papillon dog.  Also reportedly a woman with her beagle on a leash had her dog killed right in front of her.  There are two packs across the street in a field and wood area that has been somewhat converted into a disk golf course, but we've seen up to six puppies at a time.  We've had them in a pack reportedly kill a rotweiler, again, in its backyard.

            A couple years ago I found a coyote in my backyard and I chased it back over the 6 foot fence.  Fortunately I saw it before my dogs did or before they became a target.  I've extended my fence height another couple feet with chicken wire.  When I get the fence replaced, it will be about four feet taller so that they can't get in.

            I now carry rocks but I'm seriously thinking of what I might get that's more lethal.  Nobody/nothing stalks my family and doesn't take its life in its hands/paws.  I get really angry and really protective when I think about my family and I can understand those who don't want to "live and let live" with predators like these.

            •  Most law enforcement and game officers wouldn't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim

              mind if you used a wrist rocket with marbles. They are very accurate, have a range of at least a hundred feet, and pose no risk to other humans. Not lethal but a strong negative reinforcement.

              Municipalities have laws about no wrist rockets probably but they look the other way if it's for song dogs.

              Normally they tend to shy from people, someone might be feeding them or they look on your dogs as competition.

              I volunteered to take part in a greater Denver coyote monitoring project but had to drop out because it was my busy season, you might wish to contact the now renamed Department of Parks and Wildlife and see if you could at least help with monitoring in your neighborhood.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:45:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The Boat that Wouldn't Float (6+ / 0-)

    Mowatt's "The Boat that Wouldn't Float" has exactly the reputation among Newfoundlanders that you describe "Never Cry Wolf" has among wolf biologists.  I admit that I found Mowatt very amusing when I used to read him.  But, it became obvious the more I knew about the people and places in his stories, the more I distrusted what he was producing.  

    As for wolves as non-threatening, that is just nonsense.  I know two people who have killed one in self defense.  Neither reported it, of course.  You would have to be out of your mind to tell the warden service or state police about such a thing.  The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and all that never was more true.

    •  Uh huh. (5+ / 0-)

      Remarkable.

      You know two people who have killed one in self defense ... yet almost nobody knows anyone who has ever actually been attacked by a wolf, nevermind killed by one.

      Remarkable, remarkable, remarkable.

      Similarly remarkable are those pro-gun surveys that show the extraordinary numbers of people who have been in situations where, had they not been armed, they would have been killed. The problem being, there are far too many such people -- if their judgement is accurate, the only reasonable implication is that hundreds of thousands of unarmed Americans are being killed every year, due to being unarmed. Yet ... who are these hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, and why hasn't anybody noticed the slaughter?

      Remarkable.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:38:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually a woman was killed just this year (7+ / 0-)

        and another a couple years ago and some guy at an oil rig also a couple years ago. I hear of them because I have a news filter that culls all things wolf for me. I read an account of a wolf advocate being severely mauled by a pack, the tale was told in the first person and extremely good. It was that guy who wrote about wolves for National Geo.

        Wolf attacks are fairly rare, much more rare than other large carnivores, but if they develop the habit it's hard to change their habits. India and the old Soviet Union have both had pretty bad problems, and middle ages Europe was bad.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:49:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I will see your Uh huh, and raise you a chuckle (4+ / 0-)

        Not believing me is of course your privilege.  I have no desire for a food fight over this.  It probably would not matter if I offered details, of which I have plenty.  I decline to offer them because even a moment's reflection will reveal very good reasons why those events were unreported.  I presume both guys do not want whatever charges might still be brought to affect their lives.  And, as ban nock has already commented, incidents like those that end with people getting hurt or killed (and therefore are reported) are unusual, but not unknown.  I don't know if the young woman who was killed in Quebec's Gaspe was one of those he was thinking of because I recall it being more than a year or two ago, but that one springs to my mind.

        What gets a chuckle is the reductio ad absurdum about self defense in general.  I hope that you never have occasion to regret that stance.

        •  There are some attacks (6+ / 0-)

          by apex predators.  I actually know someone who had a friend who was attacked by a mountain lion.  Survived.

          Attacks by wolves, mt. lions, even grizzlies are rare.  Grizzlies are probably more dangerous, because wolves and mt. lions usually won't go for humans unless really stressed... (Or, having known a good number of cats in my life, a very small percentage of cats are just assholes and there's no explaining what might set them off.)

          That said, part of the experience of wildnerness is being around animals that have the capacity to hurt you.  I would be more scared of being gored by a bison in Yellowstone, or a bull moose, than a wolf or a mt lion... or more scared of a mosquito in the tropics than lions or other predators.  Got to be alert and be careful, but mosquitos and not lions are the most dangerous animal in Africa.  I want wilderness areas to have stable populations of apex predators.  I'm willing to assume some personal risk for that.  Self-defense is fine, but leave us our predators - they define healthy ecosystems, and as has been demonstrated already in Yellowstone and other areas, top predators result in a whole lot more ecosystem diversity including (especially) greater plant species diversity.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:49:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with all that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            frankzappatista, ivorybill, ColoTim

            Neither was hunting them or anything else at the time.  One doesn't hunt at all.  Neither were anywhere near a park, much less Yellowstone.  I get the thought that we assume some personal risk in "wilderness" environments, but not that we are somehow to accept our place on the menu.  That is especially true at our homes or routine pursuits, when our families are involved.

          •  Actually much of the trophic cascades and such are (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            salmo, FarWestGirl

            now cast into doubt, such as regrowth of willows, more songbirds, beaver, etc etc etc. At best that kind of thing has been shown to be uncertain, at worst not true. Science is self correcting, unfortunately the correction isn't published in National Geo.

            Most of the early, too good to be true, findings about Yellowstone have been cast into doubt. A recent summary of those doubts was published in the peer reviewed Biological Conservation.

            Much of modern America has lost it's feeling of nature. We live in cities, we travel on roads in cars and seldom in the forest. Many feel when they are in a natural setting that they are in the habitat of another, people feel out of place, uncomfortable, which is too bad. Humans are THE apex predator. Unlike every other predator we are able to control our predation for esoteric goals such as species diversity.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:46:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  See me whatever you want. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kay Observer2, Ozy

          The problem is statistical. My skepticism is rooted in statistics, not folklore. I'm not surprised that the woman from Gaspe "springs" to your mind, because as a little googling will demonstrate, there are precious few well-documented examples in all of recorded north american history. In fact, I'm not even sure who you mean -- but you might be talking about the woman who was killed by coyotes, not wolves, in Cape Breton.

          At any rate, the point is this: Unless you hang with a very particular and unusual crowd -- which I admit, you very well might -- the odds of you knowing anybody who ever found themselves compelled, not only to defend themselves against a wolf, but actually to kill one are pretty damned slim. Why? Because if more than 1 in a 1000 of us knew even one such person -- at least, knew one such person well enough that the person were willing to tell us about it -- it would mean that every wolf would long ago have been killed.

          That's it: The bottom fucking line. Your anecdote may be hair-raising, and it may even be based on some true incident -- but even to whatever extent it is, it represents an extremely rare incident: so rare that it is hard to believe that two such incidents come within the compass of your immediate acquaintance.

          As for reductio ad absurdum -- well, nothing in my comment represented anything remotely resembling that rather formal logical construct. Chuckle away.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:12:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Woman jogger in Alaska torn to bits, eaten (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl

            wolves, gray wolves, canadian wolves, whatever you want to call them, it was just a couple years ago.
            http://www.alaskadispatch.com/...

            Wolf advocate killed June this year.
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

            Attacks and stalking occur. As populations increase it's inevitable. Scientifically speaking it's unavoidable, we are food.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:00:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is hilarious. (0+ / 0-)

              First, Gaspe is 5000 miles from alaska. Perhaps the original commenter was indeed thinking of the woman killed in Alaska. As I said, "I'm not sure". I considered that he might be talking about the Alaskan incident, given that there are, after all, exactly two documented incidents of humans being killed by North American wolves in the last 125 years. Alternatively, perhaps he was thinking of the Cape Breton incident, in which case the confusion between wolves and coyotes would have been not irrelevant to the conversation.

              And then ... you give an example of a zookeeper. A zookeeper! Killed by "wolves" in a zoo. (And yes, those quotations are serious. Genotype isn't everything.) AHAHAHHAAHAAHAAH!!!! What's your solution to that? Should the Swedes open the wolf enclosure at the zoo to seasonal hunting, so as to reduce the population pressure that clearly resulted in this wolf pack attacking that woman? Better add open season down at the dog walking park as well, given the number of humans who are mauled/killed by other people's pets every year.

              Kee-rist.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:56:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  No, that is not the bottom line (0+ / 0-)

            This response is for any others still hanging around this diary and reading this.  Believe, don't believe, it makes no difference to me.  I haven't the slightest doubt that we hang out with very different crowds.  I spend a lot of time outdoors in what is as close to wilderness here in the East as it is possible to find, thousands of hours per year.  The circle of other people who do that is pretty small.

            For those who may not know, one hunter and his guide have been successfully prosecuted for shooting a wolf in the U.S. northeast - the two were charged under the federal endangered species act because there was evidence they had known they were shooting a female grey wolf north of Moosehead Lake in Maine on Aug. 30, 1993.  The evidence was their own report to the effect that they shot it in order to prove that there were wild wolves here.  Getting the obvious response out of the way, that was both illegal and unethical.  They did prove something, but not what they thought they were proving.  I remember at the time thinking that these two were not the sharpest tools in the shed.  The whole thing reinforced the conventional wisdom: don't shoot 'em, but if you find you must (as in the case of the two guys I know), don't report it.  With that sort of background, of course there is a scant public record.  Again, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  Inventing "statistics" on the basis that people haven't reported many such events tells us what you believe, and how dogmatically you believe it, but nothing about what is actually going on in our woods.  

            I remember that incident on the Gaspe (not Cape Breton, they are very different places) because a couple of years before, on that same trail at almost the same place, I rode my mountain bike unexpectedly into an encounter with a black bear sow and her two cubs.  It was a mountain bike trail, specifically designated for that use.  Neither of us was happy about it, but inasmuch as this was part of the Canadian park system and Canada goes to great lengths to assure that U. S. citizens don't even have bear spray, only I and the woman I was with were in in imminent danger.  I would not have shot her the way the event unfolded, it was just another dangerous wildlife encounter for which there is no record.  The animals that killed the woman I am remembering may be called coyotes in a news article, but they weighed over 70 pounds apiece.  That is about the average size of the eastern gray wolf (ours are smaller than the Alaskan sub-species ban noc was referencing) and way outside the weight range of coyotes.  

            I once asked one of our state wildlife biologists why these creatures are not always called wolves when he talks to politicians and the press.  He responded that the bureaucratic complications and politics inherent in that name are such that doing so would be way more trouble than that bit of truth would justify.  Whatever you want to call them, those 70 to 110 pound "coyotes" (standing 31" to 34" at the shoulder, depending on age, sex, and condition) are not the song dogs popularly envisioned when that name is used.  

  •  I teach Farley as Fiction... (17+ / 0-)

    from a man shell-shocked from Italy and North Africa campaigns in the Canadian Army, who turns to the contemplation of nature, not as a scientist, but as a therapist. In other words, Farley accepts that his depiction of the wolf is not factual, but emotional. It is not scientific, but anecdotal.

    It is an attempt to address and by devious counterpropaganda, dismantle and scatter the extreme opposite view held so long by Euro-Americans even to today, that the wolf is a slavering man-killer and would drink our collective milkshake if given half a chance. None of that was true, either, and yet it guided wolf policy until.. now, in Alaska.

    I think it was high time for the fiction that Farley wrote. If fiction stories can murder entire species, bring entire landscapes to ruin, motivate despots to kill millions of people and animals, can fiction also be used to bring peace? Yes it can, and yes it should. I applaud without apology the fiction of Farley Mowat, and hope for more fiction to devestate the stupid and self-destructive fictions which have brought the earth to the brink of collapse.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:04:16 PM PST

    •  If the message is true it doesn't need fictions (3+ / 0-)

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:51:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now that is not true. (5+ / 0-)

        A nice factual report would never have had the effect that Never Cry Wolf did. The same goes for this diary, which is pretty hyperbolic at many points.

        I'd say anybody who expects something labelled "Amazing True Story" to be factual is not paying attention.

        There is an interesting article about the making of the movie here:

        http://www.astonisher.com/...

        It doesn't sound as Black Beauty-like as you suggest, and it seems to be saying those pups were wolves. But of course you may disbelieve that, too.

        •  Amazing! They retell the entire scene of eating (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kenevan McConnon, Kay Observer2

          voles and wolves living on voles when we know it now to be pure untrue propaganda, yet no mention of the fact.

          You call this diary hyperbolic yet I'm not the one promoting untrue myths about wolves, on the contrary I think misinforming people to be a bad thing. Then again I've never found the Times to be very accurate regarding things animal or hunting. Sometimes good stuff in the Science section but when the subject is broached in the rest of the paper it's the view as seen from the upper east side.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:13:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  To quote from the article, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock, Kay Observer2

          the pups were wolves:

          Approximately 30 wolves were used in making "Never Cry Wolf." There were 8 puppies and the rest were adults of both sexes. The majority came from Animal Actors of Holly-wood and Lloyd Beebe's Olympic Game Farm near Seattle, but there was also at least one wild wolf on the scene, drawn briefly by curiosity. (Seven attack-trained German shepherds were used in certain scenes as well.)....

          While the attack dogs may have known how to behave like wolves, the wolves needed some coaching. The five wolves used in the caribou attack scene, for instance, had never actually hunted caribou....

          The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

          by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:19:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd add that much of the straw man you build is (3+ / 0-)

      untrue, and by contributing to that as a propagandist Farley did a disservice to science based wildlife management.

      "slavering man killer etc" The wolf is known as being very shy of humans in most situations but unlike Farley's false portrait the species can severely deplete ungulate populations and it really does kill it's own species to such a large degree that intra species predation is the largest cause of mortality amongst an un managed population.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:55:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Could you give me a link to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, Kay Observer2

        some info about the intra species predation?

        •  Best place to start any enquiry is Wiki (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch, buddabelly, Kay Observer2

          If you still need more I'd read David Mech or check out his web site at the International Wolf Center. He's currently the world's most senior and most well known wolf researcher. Some people  scoff at wiki, I don't, often on controversial subjects it is peer reviewed by scientists specializing in the field.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:43:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We still live in.. (0+ / 0-)

            a world ruled by "story." The narrative constructed by the side which has the most ethos, logos and pathos wins. This is why the construction of a narrative of the wolf as a family values proponent, largely harmless to people, competing with us only in places where human alternatives are present, and able to function socially much as primitive humans functioned, was and is a winning narrative.

            I researched American Black Oystercatchers for the US Government after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. No matter how many dead bodies we reported, no matter how many unborn eggs were discovered, no matter how many statistics we formed showing huge mortality, the only story that "stuck" was the image of that massive mat of black toxic oil engulfing the young of dozens of species. And for the biologists, what they remembered most was our discovery that the Oystercatchers see one color... Safety Orange... above all others, making it a requirement to research these birds in camo and cedar branches festooned about our heads. The "story" stuck, but the numbers of dead and destroyed did not make much of an impression.

            The story matters to us. It still does, and it probably always will. The story can be fictional, but that does not mean "untrue." That means it captures the essence of a larger truth than science can touch. It is part of our spiritual presence, invoking magic, which, you must admit, gets to the basic question; why is there life? That is what fiction does so much better than science. We need to use it if we are to survive as a species. It is our best adaptation. Story.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:41:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  imagine though if the story that emerged was that (0+ / 0-)

              black oystercatchers actually thrive on crude oil. And some photo of them doing so went viral. Yet you had all that documentation that no one would look at of the vast number of dead. That's what "building a narrative" that is based on lies can do.

              So now there are too few shiras moose in the greater Yelowstone to count, and what used to be the largest migrating herd of anything in the US, a fifth of it's former size.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 08:01:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  We all have our lies that we tell ourselves. (0+ / 0-)

    You certainly have yours, don't you?

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:41:33 PM PST

    •  like telling my wife her haircut looks good? (7+ / 0-)

      A little different than claiming a lie as a scientist. Science has had lots of hoaxes, doesn't make them good.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:52:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  of wives and wolves (8+ / 0-)

        In the Salon article that indycam links to above, it mentions a political cartoon depicting Mowat’s wife informing her husband, “The wolf’s at the door, and he’s got a few questions.”

        •  I saw that and snorted into my coffee, those (5+ / 0-)

          Canadians have a sense of humor sometimes more akin to Brits than us. I'll bet that deal over in Nova Scotia had bad blood in it. Yahoos shooting captive whale, Farley outraged spews it over the international media, small town locals shown in a bad light, Farley leaves what had been his home. Especially if he stretched the truth.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:14:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  you misunderstand me. (0+ / 0-)

        as i knew you would.
        that was the point of the remark.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:24:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That sounds like an admission of trolling. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas

          Can you offer a different interpretation?

          Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

          by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:13:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Was Socrates a troll? (0+ / 0-)

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:49:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're not Socrates (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:13:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It would appear that your answer is "no". (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

              Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

              by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:31:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not at all. (0+ / 0-)

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:04:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It still appears that your answer is "no" (0+ / 0-)

                  until you make a better answer appear.

                  Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                  by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:32:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The commenter to whom I replied was not (0+ / 0-)

                    the intended audience for my reply. Drawing someone into revealing his occluded perspective is hardly trolling.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:28:28 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  To the extent that that makes any sense at all (0+ / 0-)

                      it is trolling.

                      "The commenter to whom [you] replied" does not exist, since you started this thread with a comment on the diary itself. Perhaps you're referring to the diarist, then, as not being the intended audience for your comment. But then, when the diarist replied to you, your response was:

                      you misunderstand me.
                      as i knew you would.
                      that was the point of the remark.
                      So either you're trying to "draw [the diarist] out", which is pretty dickish behavior; or you're hijacking this comment thread in order to draw some mysterious third party out, which is very dickish behavior. Either way, you're acting like a dick. Please stop.

                      Just to be clear, I'm no fan of the diarist myself. I just really hate seeing people follow other folks around, whether into their diaries or elsewhere, to try to draw them into a fight. There's really nothing more disruptive to the community. Let's focus on issues, not personalities. (That last would be good advice for the diarist, too, from what I can see.)

                      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                      by Nowhere Man on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 09:35:07 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  well, i don't actually follow this particular (0+ / 0-)

                        diarist around. he happened to be on a bit of a "Shrink, I Wanna Kill (Wolves)!" tear, so perhaps it seemed that way to you. sorry that i lost track of the fact that in this particular case, my original comment was at the top level, and not a response to one of his other comments in the diary, but that's not exactly a smoking gun, as far as conviction on trollery goes.

                        if handing a guy rhetorical rope with which to hang himself is dickish and trolling, then i suppose you were dismayed by Obama's invitation to Romney to proceed with making an ass of himself on the benghazi matter.

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 12:00:38 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You followed him once. That's more than enough. (0+ / 0-)

                          You posted a comment that was designed to be misunderstood (or so you say.) That's also more than enough.

                          You made no serious attempt to clear up any misunderstandings or to explain your position. You did not behave like someone who wants dialogue; you behaved like someone who wants to stir the pot.

                          In short, you acted like a dick. I'm not saying you are a dick; in fact, I'm pretty sure I've had some very good exchanges with you. But this time, you certainly acted like one.

                          Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                          by Nowhere Man on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 03:05:25 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  i didn't follow him at all. (0+ / 0-)

                            i would have read the second diary regardless of who wrote it. i read the book in question before the diarist was born.

                            get off your freaking high horse. he published the damned diary as a big FUCK YOU to people who think that killing wolves for jollies is a Bad Thing To Do, because he simply doesn't think that killing anything (except, perhaps, humans) just for jollies is a Bad Thing To Do, and he thinks those of us who feel otherwise are sentimental naifs. he wouldn't know an ethic if it bit him in the dilemma. screw him.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 06:25:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you seem to have made quite a few assumptions (0+ / 0-)

                            about why I write and what I say that I didn't actually say.

                            Not sure when you were born but if it's that long ago I'd of thought you'd of learned some manners. The exchange above doesn't put you in a very good light.

                            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                            by ban nock on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 08:06:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  there is a difference between an assumption (0+ / 0-)

                            and an inference.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:21:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry you feel that way (0+ / 0-)

                            but I don't see it as a big FUCK YOU at all. I'm against wolf hunting, too -- but not because of Never Cry Wolf. I read it around the same time you did, and was very skeptical about its authenticity -- especially (IIRC) after reading the last chapter.

                            And you seem very hung up on my use of the word "follow". The fact is that you said you tailored your comments to provoke a reaction out of this specific diarist. That's the dickish part. The rest is mere dicta.

                            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                            by Nowhere Man on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:59:52 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. (5+ / 0-)

      Science is so plastic to you?

      YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

      by raincrow on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:00:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  those who lie for a good cause (4+ / 0-)

      ultimately do that cause “more harm than good.”

      --quoted from the  Salon article that indycam linked to aboove

  •  I had no idea most of Farley Mowat's books (0+ / 0-)

    were mostly fiction. I've probably read them all and treasure esp. "People of the Deer."  Now I wonder about "And No Birds Sang."

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:56:33 AM PST

    •  indycam up above posted a great link to a film (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti

      about Farley that says No Birds was written after a long slump that followed a controversy over his whale advocacy and one would assume a general outing of the fictitious parts of his writing. Perhaps he made a greater effort to be true to what happened. It's been a long time but I remember No Birds as being more a telling of the impressions of being in the various Italian campaigns and less a story of individuals.

      I'm of two minds wether to re read and also venture into some books by him I hadn't read, or just head for new non fiction on similar subjects.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:03:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Whale for the Killing (0+ / 0-)

        may have been non-fiction, mostly. What do you think?

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:26:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know, that's the problem, I don't know (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti, Kay Observer2, KenBee

          about any parts of his books now. I don't know if the historical parts are accurate or which parts of the natural observations which rang very true to me. As I said most of my life since I read Never Cry thirty years ago I believed wolves had  no part in large ungulate population and would never eat humans.

          Due to the wolf controversy I've read the well researched information on wolves from Mech and Geist, and so began to question what I'd assumed true.

          In the film indycam linked, which is great by the way, I'll admit the old black and white film of whale processing made me think, "my god that's a lot of meat". Haven't read much about whales, but I have read they are very intelligent, there has to be a line somewhere where an animal is too smart for me to eat, apes and chimps for sure.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:21:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Regarding Mowat's observations (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kay Observer2

            in the People of the Deer, I've often thought of his long passage about the People's view of anger as a destructive force. I wonder now if this has been disputed by other observers, or the Ihalmuit themselves. To quote a little:

            the Ihalmuit have always looked upon anger as a sign of savagery, of immaturity, or of inhuman nature. Children alone are permitted brief outbursts of temper, for a child is not held responsible for its actions. But when a man gives way to anger it is something of the deepest shame to the beholders....(p.189)

            The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

            by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:22:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd think living in small isolated family groups (0+ / 0-)

              anger would be a terrible destructive force. I know that in most Asian cultures anger is a sign of losing control and a sign of losing face.

              I just came back to check for any further posts. Not happy with the way the comments went here. I'm going to try for better on my next post.

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 08:14:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Owls in the Family (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      armd, Kay Observer2, bluedust

      is still one of my favorite children's books. I like the companion "The dog that wouldn't be" too, although the ending would be pretty rough for a youngster.

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

      by HugoDog on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:42:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should quote and source (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kay Observer2, Nowhere Man
    Mowat later admitted to fabricating much of his story to gain acceptance and sympathy for the wolf. He did that in spades.
    this claim.

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:30:28 AM PST

  •  Mowat claims that the wolves in his study (0+ / 0-)

    group ate a huge amount of rodents during certain times of year, which no other observer has ever seen.

    He did not claim that wolves do not take large prey.  Period.  He extensively covered their taking of caribou.

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:33:38 AM PST

    •  Mowat stated the wolves ate the weak caribou (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kay Observer2, KenBee

      while the local native humans went after the "big, fat, healthy ones". He claimed the natives saw the wolf as game managers who culled out the weaklings and who thus made the caribou population stronger overall. There's no lie in that. It's true across the whole predator/prey spectrum.

      I Refuse to Believe Corporations Are People Until Texas Executes One

      by desert rain on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:46:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  From the NYT article about making the film (3+ / 0-)
        The five wolves used in the caribou attack scene, for instance, had never actually hunted caribou. For this reason, the leader of the pack, a large adult male named Avatar, tried to take on a healthy caribou buck with a broad span of fuzzy antlers. Avatar ran the buck for nearly a half a mile and finally drove it out into the water, alone. Seemingly unfazed, the deer splashed on the way it had been going. The wolf dove in pursuit, but as soon as his feet no longer touched the strand, the caribou (which was still touching bottom) wheeled, caught the wolf with its rack and hurled him high in the air. "I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he came down," said ...Avatar's trainer. Avatar survived the encounter, and thereafter the wolves concentrated on the weaker members of the herd. Link

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:07:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  actually it's not true, and that's the poblem (0+ / 0-)

        wolf aren't game managers, they take the easiest, usually youngest, that's true across the whole spectrum etc.

        There is no balance of nature. Trophic Cascades are mostly figments of the imagination.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 08:17:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Confession (6+ / 0-)

    Until I retired about 5 years ago, I was teaching freshman composition at a major university using a book of readings (selected by the Department) which included Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf", It came with no disclaimer, even though the text included both a brief biographic introduction on the author and a "questions for discussion" section. I confess I assigned it, and it generated some good class discussion and not a few student essays. Neither I, nor anyone in my classes so far as can remember, every challenged Mowat's authenticity. Sure, I should have been informed enough to know his work was discredited, or I could have done some quick background research on every author I assigned. I doubt if one in a hundred or one in a thousand overworked adjuncts (who teach the intro courses almost everywhere now) spares the time from grading 100 or so papers every other week (4 sections x 25 students) to make such an investigation. I have little doubt Mowat is still being used. Ironically, the book was very useful in teaching the importance of observation and empirical research. There's much blame to dispense on this topic, but I would principally blame the publisher.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

    by Blue Boomer on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:45:33 AM PST

  •  Maybe we at war with Norway.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    My apologies....I can't help but think of "The Thing" (the remake by John Carpenter) when I see those pics you posted.  Incredible job you had!

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. Plus, I get a small royalty, and Jeff Bezos and his employees get the rest. Not a bad deal, as CEO Bezos is not much of a dick, relatively speaking. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:02:15 AM PST

  •  Do you have a single source for your claim? (0+ / 0-)

    Except an anonymous reviewer?  Given your recent performance, I am inclined to take your claims on such matters with a giant bucketload of salt

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:07:17 AM PST

    •  I'll respond to Jesse and you after I get back (5+ / 0-)

      from work, but I'd suggest you read the links to the article in Salon that Indycam posted, it's a long and detailed article, or just google yourself. It's widespread knowledge. If you think you feel let down by Mowat I was too, the wolf book was less a let down than the books about the Inuit.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:27:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and what's with the "recent performance"? (3+ / 0-)

      Lets keep it civil shall we?

      Better a bucket load of salt than one of horse manure.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:29:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My only criticism of this diary is that it's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      old news. Otherwise it's spot on.

      •  I wrote it because a rec listed diary yesterday (5+ / 0-)

        used it as it's only reference link. I didn't want to do a call out but wished to cause people to think twice before using it as a factual source of information. I knew nothing of it until maybe 3 years ago.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:48:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can we have some evidence then? (0+ / 0-)

        That's all I am asking for.  Apparently asking for sources is not met we'll, which may be indicative

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:00:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  http://www.salon.com/1999/05/11/mowat/ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kay Observer2

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:09:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cool, of course (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bluedust

            This article is something of a he said, she said piece.   I will point out that in one instance, Mowat was correct and your diary isnt:  wolf diets are fairly board and include carrion and rodents in winter. See also this other study showing that rodents can make up an important part of the wolf diet..  

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:17:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You should change your handle (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              frankzappatista

              It should be Argumentative Nature or something. You have no evidence, cite false sources, don't accept citations, have no experience and want us to believe what you say because you tell us you have a PhD in ecology.

              You're actually starting to irritate me.

              •  Did you check the links? (0+ / 0-)

                To the scientific literature on this topic?  These are false sources and no evidence?   Certainly you hWould not accept my say so just because I have training without sources to back up what I say, but I have provided these.    Others have not.   Which is why I am inclined to correct the record where it needs correcting.   Sorry that bothers you

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:22:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Point being disputed vs evidence presented (0+ / 0-)

                  Marwat claimed that a large portion of a wolf's diet was small rodents. You believe this to be true and posted links to two scientific abstracts.

                  The numbers in those links show that at no time of the year in Latvia, Estonia, or the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau does more than 24% of their diet come from carrion/small rodents, etc. Their diets are made up of 75% to 80% Cervids and Wild Boar in Lativia and Estonia and from 78% Yak and sheep in Qinghai-Tibet. The were more empty stomachs thatn stomachs with rodents. Your link didn't show anything except a sloppy and/or dishonest link. Nobody disputes wolves will eat anything, but the idea that they eat mice over caribou or eat old sick animals is stupid.  They prefer a cow or a calf just like me and have the guts to take on wild boar.

                  They may eat small rodents, but they eat them the way I eat beef....when I have to.

                  •  Well, let's see (0+ / 0-)

                    In fact, our diarist disputes it:

                    The greatest lie was that wolves live mostly on small rodents, when every wolf researcher in the world knows wolves eat large prey. Caribou, moose, elk, deer, even beaver for the rich fat supplies, but living on rodents, pure fiction.
                    As these studies show, rodent can, in some instances, make up a significant portion of wolf diets.  So, pure fiction?  No, apprently not.  In fact, the only actual evidence presented here supports the general notion that scientists are aware that wolves do at times get substantial calories from rodents.  Do they eat more when other food sources are not present?  Certanly it's a reasonable notion given what we know, and the evidence is completely at odds with ban nock's completely unsupported idea that they do not.

                    So, not sloppy or dishonest, but rather indeed it shows that wolf scientists are aware that this sort of thing can and does go on.

                    Again, I'm sorry you don't like it when the science doesn't back you up.  If you have a study showing that northern wolves never eat rodents, please present it instead of casting insults.  Thanks

                    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                    by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 12:29:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  please tell me you're kidding about the Phd (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kenevan McConnon, happy camper

                      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:58:49 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You do realize (0+ / 0-)

                        that this link (to wikipedia?  Really?) contradicts your statement also:

                        Although wolves primarily feed on medium to large sized ungulates, they are not fussy eaters. Smaller sized animals that may supplement the diet of wolves include marmots, hares, badgers, foxes, weasels, ground squirrels, mice, hamsters, voles and other rodents, as well as insectivores
                        and
                        Among flukes, the most common in North American wolves is Alaria, which infects small rodents and amphibians, which are eaten by wolves.
                        Certainly, if the most common parasite among north american wolves is contracted by eating rodents and amphibians, that suggests that wolves, well, do eat rodents and amphibians.

                        So, not sure where you were going with that, but yes, I have a PhD in population and community ecology (with an emphasis in population genetics and a sideline in climate change biology)

                        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                        by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:19:37 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well you seem to get it that wolves eat large (3+ / 0-)

                          mammals, perhaps send an email to Farley, cause he found they were mice eaters and had no affect on caribou populations. Just spend their time being anthropomorphic with daisies in the sun and frolicking when they aren't being noble and trustworthy and loving and tearing each other up out of general cussedness.

                          I'm having a hard time with the Phd stuff.

                          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:29:14 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Did he? (0+ / 0-)

                            I never read any of his research papers, but from what I recall he asked the question of what they eat when caribou aren't around and concluded that rats contribute to their diet which is a finding that seems borne out by findings around the world on wolves.

                            As for the lovableness of wolves, I couuldn't comment, but certainly that seems odd.  They're top predators and would eat me given half a chance no doubt.

                            Maybe you don't interact with scientists all that much, I don't know, but scientific training is a useful thing to have.

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:36:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Why do you come to Dailykos? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happy camper

                      This is a reality based community. You don't have to login to argue with a straw man; you can do that in your own head without bothering anyone else.

                      •  Might take your own advice (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        bluedust

                        so far, I'm kind of the only one presenting evidence.  You want to stroll in here pushing things that don't quite hold water, you might expect a little correction now and then.

                        yes, this is a reality based community.  I might recommend taht approach to you.

                        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                        by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:20:56 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Nobody said wolves don't eat rodents (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          frankzappatista

                          We think Mowat made shit up and called it true including the claim that small rodents made up a LARGE part of wolves' diet.  This is bullshit.  You provided links that actually support the view that Mowat is full of shit and instead claim that they support Mowat.  I do the math for you and you respond with another straw man. Give it a break.

                          I sure hope you're a waiter; we don't need folks like you making progressives look bad. You're shit is Dick Morris stupid.

                          •  Right. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FishOutofWater, bluedust

                            you haven't done anything of the kind.  So far, our dear diarist did claim that wolves eating rodents is "pure fiction" which I demonstrated isn't true.  Yes, in those studies in those cases rodents made up a large, but not majority portion of the diet.  However, given that these animals are documented to eat rodents (and in fact apparently get parasites from them, per ban nock) it is hardly a stretch that a wolf on the tundra with no caribou might subsist on rats.  It is entirely consistent with the only data we have.  Neither of you have presented on scintilla of evidence to support the claim. Nothing

                            If you have data showing the seasonal course of dietary intake across the year in the canadian tundra, please put it forward.

                            As for the rest of Mowat's claims, I take no position whatsoever.  That's of coruse because I have no information that's relevant one way or the other.

                            Insults however do not constitute reasoned or rational argument.

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:40:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  More empty stomachs than rodents (0+ / 0-)

                            It isn't that hard to understand unless you want something else to be true. I read the abstracts and they support what I know about wolves and lynx and what they eat.  You are trying to smash the data so that it supports your conclusions about Mowat and the shit he made up. Either construct an honest argument or move on.

                          •  ok. (0+ / 0-)

                            there's no convincing the true ideologue.  Yes, wolves do get empty stomachs sometimes.  This is utterly irrelevant.  It is DEMOSTRATED FACT that they also eat rodents, frequently in large quantities.  So far we've got zero evidence for any other state of affairs.

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:15:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Was Mowat full of shit? (0+ / 0-)

                            It's an easy question and the diarist has presenteded evidence to back his assertion. You have nothing except a scientific article that backs Ban Nock. What is it that you are doing? It seems like you are trolling a diary to me.

                          •  Probably (0+ / 0-)

                            he cited to a Salon.com article that describes someone (Goddard) who contests Mowat's assertions.  He's probably right.

                            Ban nock never presented any evidence on the biology at issue, and what I presented demonstrates that Ban nock's comment that it is complete fiction that wolves eat rodents is false.

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:37:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Read what Ban Nock wrote again (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tom Seaview

                            "The greatest lie was that wolves live mostly on small rodents, when every wolf researcher in the world knows wolves eat large prey. Caribou, moose, elk, deer, even beaver for the rich fat supplies, but living on rodents, pure fiction."

                            You are arguing with a straw man of your own constrction and the two scientific abstracts you linked support Ban Nock. Please give it a break. You're wrong.

                          •  please (0+ / 0-)

                            indicate ANY evidence for this assertion:

                            , but living on rodents, pure fiction."

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:56:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yea the articles you linked (0+ / 0-)

                            Obviously they are supplementing or augmenting their diets with rodents, but they are not living on rodents any more than they are living on carrion or trash. When 75% of your diet is cervids and wild boar that is what youare "living o" on. Go argue with yourself. You don't like hunting and like ibeing argumentative. You should be embarrassed.

                            I can't help you until you want to help yourself.

                          •  very good (0+ / 0-)

                            Yes, that's in Tibet and Latvia, when there are cervids or boars available.

                            But what do you suppose happens when there are no cervids or boars around, and only rats?  I guess they just starve because Mowat is full of bullshit?

                            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                            by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:34:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This diary is bait (3+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            wordwraith, Kay Observer2, bluedust
                            Hidden by:
                            Kenevan McConnon

                            You and the diarist are pack hunting people who disagree with you.

                            The wolf killings in Yellowstone have nothing to do with Mowatt.

                            This diary is a cowardly attack on the diary on wolf killing on the Yellowstone boundary.

                            Cowardly.

                            If Ban Nock had an ounce of integrity he would directly criticize the diary on the wolf killing.

                            Instead he trolls this bait like a Montana rancher leaving prey kill just over the park boundary.

                            Disgusting.

                            Your argumentation is utterly disingenuous.

                            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

                            by FishOutofWater on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:20:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Kenevan McConnon, ban nock

                            Arguing from a fact based arena is always better than basing ideologies on fairy dust.

                            I read Never Cry Wolf and had no idea I was being snookered. It pisses me off to be lied to but I don't take it out on the person who points out the lie.

                            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

                            by high uintas on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:42:53 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course they eat rodents (4+ / 0-)

                            They also primarily eat elk in the context of Yellowstone:

                            Wolves in YNP feed primarily on elk, despite the presence of other ungulate species. Patterns of prey selection and kill rates in winter have varied seasonally each year from 1995 to 2004 and changed in recent years as the wolf population has become established. Wolves select elk based on their vulnerability as a result of age, sex, and season and therefore kill primarily calves, old cows, and bulls that have been weakened by winter. Summer scat analysis reveals an increased variety in diet compared with observed winter diets, including other ungulate species, rodents, and vegetation...

                            As most of our information on wolf kills comes from winter data, kill rates and prey selection are less known in summer. Current studies exploring this aspect of wolf predation are under way, but preliminary evidence indicates that wolf kill rates decrease as much as 25% in the summer (D. Smith and D. Stahler, Yellowstone Wolf Project, unpublished data). One indication of the seasonal differences in wolf foraging patterns is through an analysis of summer wolf scats. Scat analysis shows that summer diets are more diverse and include smaller prey species such as rodents, birds, and invertebrates, as well as ungulates, otherwise absent in the winter. Analyses of summer scats in 2003 show that mule deer was present in 133 (25%) of 530 scats analyzed. In addition, plant matter is prevalent in wolves' summer diet, with 392 (74%) of 530 scats analyzed containing some type of plant material, largely grass (Graminae).  http://jn.nutrition.org/...

                            I think we can all agree that wolves are adapted to hunt and eat primarily ungulates that are larger than they are, but are opportunistic and will eat what they can when stressed.   Seems a little off-topic since the diary is about Farley Mowatt.  What is not said, but what this diary is largely about, is how wolves should be managed - whether they should be managed according to ranchers and grazing interests, people who like to shoot predators, or the general public.

                             

                            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

                            by ivorybill on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:21:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you are close but not there as you can't mind read (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            happy camper, Tom Seaview

                            This post is about not using an emotional and scientifically untrue basis to manage wolves. The general public has been misinformed by polemicists such as Mowat who are willing to use information that is untrue to skew how we manage wildlife and predators in particular.

                            Wildlife management is dictated mostly by scientists, not ranchers, not uninformed lay people, not hunters or the HSUS.  Most states have a commission appointed by the legislature that makes decisions about wildlife informed by their scientists. Legislatures and commissions are influenced by publicity. For best outcomes I wish for scientists working at divisions of wildlife to dictate wildlife management as much as possible. They usually do a very good job if left to their own devices.

                            When a large number of people interested in wildlife have been misinformed it makes it very hard for scientists to do their work.

                            Wildlife management should be done by scientists guided by sound scientific principals.

                            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                            by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:23:24 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome ship salvage stories by Farley Mowat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    The Grey Seas Under

    The Serpent's Coil

  •  Farley Mowatt may be a liar (5+ / 0-)

    but what makes me far angrier is the fact that hunters shot two of the most successful wolves in Yellowstone - a female pack leader who wandered outside the park boundary, and a dominant male.  FWS and National Park Service had tracked both for years.

    Here's the problem with opening hunting seasons for apex predators - you end up destroying social structures with ripple effects.  Same thing with hunting mountain lions - if one shoots a male mountain lion, it doesn't just open up that territory for another male, the new male tends to kill all the younger kittens from the previous year so that he can mate more quickly with any females in the territory.  If one shoots alpha wolves, one disrupts pack order and structure, which ends up with more dead wolves and more disruption to the packs.  

    Personally, I can see hunting deer or feral hogs or the like.  But I can never support or respect anyone who would shoot a wolf or a mountain lion, jaguar, other apex predator except in genuine self-defense.  Can't understand the mindset that says "this is a beautiful animal, I'd like to kill it and posess it".  Don't get it, never will.  It seems to me the ultimate act of cowardice.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:57:19 PM PST

    •  You're not alone in lacking understanding (2+ / 0-)

      of wildlife management, other than googling I always recomend  Aldo Leopolds Game Management as it is the broad basis for all Wildlife Management in the US and many other countries.

      Wildlife has been carefully managed using science for three quarters of a century, biologists have gotten good at it. Believe me if they wanted hunters not to shoot collared wolves they would have said so. Hunters are used to shooting, or not shooting, collared big game animals depending on what the various departments of wildlife want them to do. Hunters also shoot only male mountain lions when told to do so, or male elk with five or more points per side, or male spike elk only, or cow elk only, or whatever the scientists in their great wisdom decide is best.

      By not discriminating collars or not scientists get a truer picture of mortality outside the park's boundaries or resident wolves don't you think?

      Until you can understand the scientific conservation reason for hunting you will only become saddened and even angry over issues wildlife.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:23:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope (8+ / 0-)

        I understand scientific wildlife management just fine.  Hunting wolves is a political issue, not a scientific one.  Wolves are back on the list of game species because of the strength of the rancher lobby, libertarian republicanism in western states, and the chronic long-term dislike on the part of Idaho and Wyoming conservative republicans for anything that looks or smells like environmentalism.  Rational game management would give the wolves more time to repopulate, more space in which to repopulate, and if we absolutely had to allow people to get their jollies from shooting large predators, would target a whole lot less than 140 or whatever the total number of kills allocated for MN or MT/ID/WY.

        Hunting overpopulated game species such as deer, and hunting invastives such as feral hogs is rational and even laudatory.  I'll go along with RKBA and I'll go along with subsistence hunting and even sports hunting by people who respect the animal enough to eat it.  Hunting apex predators is a shameful and embarrasing thing for grown men to do. Just is.  Track wolves, watch them, track mountain lions on foot without the help of a bunch of dogs.  Shoot them?  Nope.  Not going to change my mind on that.  If ranchers don't like it, they should understand healthy predator populations are the price they need to pay for grazing public land.  If it helps to sooth their hurt then reimburse them for predator kills.  But I'm not at all sympathetic to the lobbying to hunt predators pushed by ranching interests.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:21:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You will continue to be upset until you educate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frankzappatista

          yourself a little about wildlife management. I've given you a place to start but I can do nothing about a closed mind. Labeling scientific management a Republican issue is kind of silly, it's a universally understood concept out west, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives. We all might argue about politics out here but westerners are into protecting and preserving species.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:17:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Damn! We have a winner n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Biologists did not recommend wolf killing (6+ / 0-)

        The laws enabling this wolf killing were pushed by ranchers.

        There is no scientific rationale for this fall's wolf killings on the Yellowstone Park boundary. Aldo Leopold has nothing to do with this. Nothing.

        You are discrediting yourself by making such disingenuous arguments.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:48:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Shortcut to understanding where "Ban Nock" and his (5+ / 0-)

    sidekick "Kenevan McConnon" are coming from:  Refer to samizdat's diary from yesterday, "Most Famous Wolf Killed by Hunter When Pack Ranged Just Outside Yellowstone," "http://www.dailykos.com/... in which "Ban Nock" makes the statement, "The wolf was reintroduced to be a game species, that means shot."  Then follow the oh-so-rational arguments of the great outdoorsman, "Kenevan," who is the expert on "wildlife management," and who especially enjoys mixing it up with Mindful Nature, with her/his sissy Ph.D. in Ecology.  I suspect that the only thing BN and KM enjoy more than hunting  wildlife, especially wolves, is taunting people on DK who are outraged by it.  Carry on.

  •  "Lies" maybe, but what harm did it cause? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    White Buffalo, the fan man

    You provide a pretty good take-down of Mowat's wolf book  here. But what harm did he do? What harm did he do the wolves? What harm did he do biologists? So, as I (and many others) see it, he embellished or exaggerated his experiences. He seems to have done this in order to rehabilitate the image of an unjustly maligned and demonized animal. In that process, he helped change people's attitudes towards this animal and inspire a love of nature.  

    •  Good comment (3+ / 0-)

      Because you are getting to the point maybe, of why I wrote this whole thing.

      Most of what we the uninformed, knew of wolves, and that was just about nothing, we gleaned from White Fang and Call of the Wild. Meanwhile there were true scientists painstakingly studying the animal. Like most good scientists they continuously re asses and test what they know, and they came to a fairly thorough understanding of the wolf.

      Now in the US, in rural parts we are having a large "to do" over reintroduction of this large and prolific predator.

      The general public and even many scientists have already formed opinions of the wolf. The wolf has been made into a creature that it isn't. A popular press without a background in science is partly to blame, and lazy people with degrees in science but without the inquiring minds of true scientists are partly to blame, but Farley started it, and his book perpetuates it.

      Never Cry Wolf should at the least be shelved in the Travel section at bookstores. It should be published with a preface that gives the basic facts of wolf biology and an explanation regarding the circumstances of it's writing. It should never be used as reference.

      David Mech, the worlds most famous and probably most respected wolf researcher keeps a file into which he tosses most wolf articles and quite a few scholarly studies of the wolf. The name of the file is "Wolf to Save the World"

      Recently in the journal Biological Conservation he wrote a very good peer reviewed essay of why Science is in Danger of Sanctifying the Wolf.

      I don't know if you caught the controversy over the shooting of a collared wolf outside yellowstone or any of the comments above. The general public has been put into the position of being outraged over needed wolf management. Mech argues very successfully that misinforming as advocacy has done a large disservice to those interested in conservation as it relates to the wolf. Misinformation, some of it at least informed by faulty science, has made it very difficult for professional wildlife managers to do their jobs.

      Mech's paper is probably the subject of my next diary.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:05:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The question is not wolf management, you've helped (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        keep this issue one of science vs emotion, kill vs no-kill (and many here are willing to join you in the resulting melee).

        The question is what numbers are needed to sustain a healthy wolf population. The disagreement between "wolf advocates" and "wildlife management" officials is substantial and based on the same data.

        According to advocates, "Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan is designed to manage for minimum numbers instead of managing for higher population levels, levels capable of absorbing other mortality factors." -Wolfwatcher.org

        Not exactly a looney statement from a bunch of tree hugging urban wolf nuts. The advocacy is necessary because wolves are still seen predominantly from the  position of "all wolves bad" and strong political forces would still like to see complete eradication.

        I've enjoyed your comments and diaries in the past, on this topic of the kill outside Yellowstone and management of wolves, I think you're not correct on the facts.

        Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

        by the fan man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:06:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  post has scrolled off the list but I figure I owe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          you a reply and a thank you for reading.

          I've seen Wolfwatcher.org's web site before but never ventured far into it. It would be difficult to know where the membership comes from but it's fairly safe to call them a wolf advocacy organization.

          It's true that Wyoming seems intent on managing for a population that though well above anything that would cause re listing would still be only that many. If it were put to a vote I'm not sure the people of Wyoming would want any wolves.

          Of course they have a right to their opinion and a right under the law to manage their wolf populations in any way they want as long as they don't make the Feds decide to relist.

          I think it's been shown very conclusively that 66 wolves can not only maintain a healthy population but in fact thrive. Wyoming's plan as I remember was not only reviewed and approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service but also reviewed by an independent group of wildlife scientists with a background in wolves.

          Advocates have advocacy on their side. Wildlife managers have scientists and scientists have science, because at it's heart that is what wildlife management is, science based. Scientists can say anything they'd like, but in the end what they say can be reproduced by other scientists or it can be disproven.

          Wolves have viable populations across many states and provinces in the Rocky mountains, now it is totally up to the states how they wish to manage those populations. Advocates need to rebuild those bridges they burnt.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:37:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wolves and Rodents -- it's a tundra thing (5+ / 0-)

    It's true wolf packs hunt large prey, of course. In the Canadian tundra that means Caribou, pretty much exclusively. But in the tundra in spring and summer wolf packs do not necessarily follow the caribou herd. They need to stay put to den up and raise pups, and the herd is moving fast at that time, raising their offspring on the move. However, there is plenty for wolves to feed on during the brief tundra summer without moving -- principally small animals -- yes, mice.

    Mowat (and plenty of real scientists) have observed wolves feeding vociferously on rodents during their pup-raising season. It takes a lot of mice to feed a wolf, but there ARE a lot of them, in early summer, and the wolves are really good at harvesting on them.

    So it's not a "lie" that wolves live principally off small animals at some times, at least in the Canadian tundra. Mowat's account is of observing a den of wolf pups in the tundra at precisely the time of year when they would be doing just that.

    Yes, Mowat isn't a scientist and if he gave people the idea wolves don't hunt large animals, that was misleading. I don't recall getting that impression from the book. He doesn't actually insist that they don't hunt large animals, he's quite emphatic, in fact, in suggesting they cull the caribou herd and keep it strong. That was a still not popularly understood ecological principle when Never Cry Wolf was written. I think the book performed a service. And it's a very enjoyable story (for a tragedy).

    I can't comment on whether Mowat actually lived the whole tale he tells, or borrowed parts of it, casting it as a first-person narrative when it wasn't actually one. He did spend time in the tundra -- but perhaps not everything he wrote about as if it were his own experience actually was. I don't know, and I'd kind of like to know, but the truth of his tale isn't necessarily obliterated even if it was fictionalized.

    I wish the diarist had provided specific evidence of Mowat's "lies", and of scientific opinions directly counter to Mowat's. Claims that a writer fabricated his experiences should be documented. Character attacks in which someone is maligned as a "liar" should not be made without supplying evidence. And it isn't enough to say "all scientists know that", you need to cite people who have refuted Mowat. As Lillian Hellman said, "It's your right to say I lied in my writing, but you must say where I lied, and how."

    All that said, go read People of the Deer and The Desperate People. Nothing in these charges should dissuade people from reading those eloquent tales of the inland Caribou Innuit, whether you read them as fiction or documentary. Mowat was the first to tell that tale, and it needed to be told.

    If you can, find a copy of The Black Joke and read it to your kids. It's not about wolves and it's fiction --  a story of two Newfoundland boys on their father's schooner during the prohibition era -- and it's marvelous. Mowat really can write. Maybe fiction is his true metier.

    Mowat also published three collections first-person non-fiction accounts from the age of exploration of the Canadian north. If you reject fictionalization, read these, which except for Mowat's introductions, are by the original explorers themselves. He does a first-rate job of their selection, rescuing the voices of now-unknown men who lived extraordinary experiences of discovery. They are Ordeal By Ice, The Polar Passion, and Tundra. It's a shame that these are out of print, but you can still get them.

    "The universe is a sphere whose center is wherever there is intelligence." -Thoreau

    by samizdat on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:06:06 PM PST

    •  well... (2+ / 0-)

      http://www.salon.com/...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      In a 1964 article published in the Canadian Field-Naturalist,[2] Canadian Wildlife Federation official Frank Banfield compared Mowat's 1963 bestseller to Little Red Riding Hood, stating, "I hope that readers of "Never Cry Wolf" will realize that both stories have about the same factual content.
      L. David Mech, a wolf expert, stated that Mowat is no scientist and that in all his studies, he had never encountered a wolf pack which primarily subsisted on small prey as shown in M
      owat's book.
      David Mech is the founder of the International Wolf Center and the most famous living wolf researcher. Who am I to believe, you, or him? Of course Mech spent years studying wolves in the arctic and as far as I know still does.

      I love Mowat's writings, but now I learn he fibbed throughout in People of the Deer and The Desperate People. He didn't speak the language, never visited an Inuit camp. The more I read the more I learn of fibs.

      I'm happy to discuss how fun his tales are to read, and I now want to read the ones about the ships, but let's not pretend that the misinformation about wolves has been anything except a disservice to conservation. Lying is a real bad habit.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:48:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This has to be a DKos test (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    to see how far environmentalists can be pushed but still vote for Democrats.

    Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that question.

    Too fucking bad.

  •  Mutt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, bluedust

    Many years ago -- somewhere between my 8th grade and 10th grade years -- I read another of Farley Mowat's books, "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be," his recollections of his family dog named Mutt.

    In spite of the revelations in this diary, I still recommend "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be" for young readers.

  •  More Darwin Less Disney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:03:27 AM PST

  •  There's more lies in this.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, the fan man

    than you'll find in most of Farley Mowat's work.  I know the man, and know when and why he took liberties with the "truth".   He was very sure that our understanding of animal consciousness was deeply flawed.  This is not an easy thing to prove, but he set out to do it.  I did too, in my new novel "The Lord God Bird", for which Farley wrote an elegant blurb.  Perhaps he'd have been better off calling his stuff fiction, but in his heart, he was telling a greater truth.  And he was not lying about what wolves eat.  And "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" is the absolute truth, and Newfoundlander's love it.  Some Newfoundlanders did get upset over "A Whale for the Killing."  Too bad.  It was true, and I know more than a few Newfoundlanders who'll say so.  Farley Mowat's life work is something to be admired.  He's fessed up about where he "fudged" the facts, and if you read his reasons, they make sense.  So a little less half-informed trashing of this great man would be a step in the right direction.

    Anything in life that ain't a mystery, is sheer guesswork.

    by MysteriousEast on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:00:34 AM PST

    •  Perhaps if you talk to Farley you could ask him to (0+ / 0-)

      print a forward in every new book he sells. It should include an apology for the plagiarism and being misleading. Then he should with the assistance of a well known and respected wolf researcher attempt to correct the misinformation he wrote.

      He's getting on in years and I doubt he has it in him. He writes beautifully, and I doubt any other of his books have done much  harm. But this one did. Lying for a cause is not a cause worth advocating for. In the end Farley let down the wolf and scientific observation and himself.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:42:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is disappointing to hear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    as I had enjoyed the movie when I saw it as a kid.

    Have you hugged your Boeuf Bourguignon today?

    by wretchedhive on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:12:08 AM PST

  •  I feel like I remember (0+ / 0-)

    some reference in the movie to the wolves keeping the caribou herd healthy by culling the old and weak.  Is this BS?  I did not get the impression from the movie that the wolves subsisted mostly on mice--I got the impression that they ate mice when they did not have larger game.  I never got that they preferred mice.  I got that mice could sustain them in times of need.  I loved this movie (never read the book) because in my recollection it portrayed the wolves as an integral part of a healthy ecosystem.

    On a lighter note, some Kossacks may enjoy The Esquimau Maiden's Romance by Mark Twain as some real light-hearted satire.

    •  yes, it's BS. To explain the affects of wolf (0+ / 0-)

      predation on a herd of elk the animal behaviorist Valerius Geist compared it to picking apples off a tree, because that's  how much thought a wolf pack gives to eating elk. Geist spent decades observing mule deer, elk, and caribou, and the animals that preyed on them.

      Wolves take whatever is easiest, often that means the youngest and whatever is around.

      There is no balance of nature. The affects of predators such as the wolf are near impossible to quantify beyond the actual animals they prey on. Trophic cascades have almost always proven to be mistaken on further study.

      Wolves are valuable in and of themselves. Their contribution is to diversity, they don't need to make any greater contribution.

      Wolves are a predator. They eat large animals. They often eat them alive. The animals die in great pain and fear. That doesn't make the wolf bad, but it is a far different picture than that painted by Mowat.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:29:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They do cull the old & the weak, also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      the injured and the nervous (those two often go together).  I've watched footage of wolves probing a herd of caribou, ignoring the individuals that seemed unconcerned, and singling out the one that seemed anxious.They tend to go for the "low hanging fruit" -- the easiest kill. So if an otherwise healthy female is close enough to giving birth to make her slow & clumsy, they might go for her.  Usually, though, healthy, breeding age females are too much trouble.  So yeah, the old, sick, injured, timid, and newly born (in those first few hours before they can run full speed), are the ones they go for first. Also, I expect that during the rut, males that are injured or exhausted from fighting might become targets.

      Pe'Sla isn't safe until the loan is paid off. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe could use some help with that.

      by Kay Observer2 on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 05:44:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the young all the way through their first (0+ / 0-)

        winter are the first choice after anything that is dying of it's own volition. Also pregnant females as soon as they become heavy enough to slow down. That's why calf production sometimes drops from close to 50% to less than 10% and herds can shrink from 20k down to 4K.

        The old and the infirm add up to,  to small a number of animals to feed a wolf population that will expand until it runs out of food.

        The old and infirm has been scientifically observed to be a myth.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:15:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site