Wolf Island: Discovering the Secrets of a Mythic Animal

L. David Mech, with Greg Breining. Univ. of Minnesota, $24.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-5179-0825-6
In this enjoyable if somewhat slim scientific memoir, wildlife biologist and photographer Mech recalls his early efforts at “wolf-moose fieldwork” in Isle Royale National Park, a 45-mile-long island in northern Lake Superior. He recalls it as a fascinating place, “an isolated wilderness world” where as a “new, enthusiastic” Purdue University grad student he researched interactions between the park’s wolf populations and moose in order to understand the dynamics between predator and prey. He was also interested specifically in wolf packs, and researched “how far they traveled, how they hunted, [and] whether they could live on a variety of foods.” Over the study’s three years, between 1958 and 1961, Mech made significant strides in understanding both species on their own and in relation to each other by “hiking hundreds of miles on trails in summer” and “flying hundreds of hours over the island in winter.” He observed a “rough equilibrium” between the two populations, and came to see the wolves as a positive contributor to the island’s ecosystem, helping transform the previous overwhelmingly negative views of wolves as rapacious predators and strengthening the case for their preservation. Nature lovers will enjoy Mech’s mix of reminiscence and zoological insight. 30 color photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/29/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4529-6209-2
Book - 978-1-5179-1131-7
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