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Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  462 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Written by an award-winning writer and the leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, this definitive book recounts the years since the wolves’ return to Yellowstone.
Paperback, Revised and Updated Edition, 256 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Lyons Press (first published April 1st 2005)
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4.29  · 
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 ·  462 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Paul Corrigan
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unintended consequence of reading "Decade of the Wolf" was the way it stirred in me a certain ambivalence, as a hunter, over the return of wolves to the landscape. Naturally, I love to spend time in country where there is a fair amount of deer and moose sign (I live in north central Maine). I can't help but worry about the impact this wild, canine competitor may have on my prospects of seeing and, even shooting deer and moose. This ambivalence, however, in no way diminished my pleasure readin ...more
If you would not love an personal, guided tour of Yellowstone with Doug Smith then either 1) You have not thought about it hard enough or 2) You have not yet watched a sufficient number of nature documentaries on Netflix.

Smith has studied wolves all his life, in the West and on Isle Royale, and he was part of the Yellowstone reintroduction from its very beginning. He knows each of the wolves like members of his extended family and is as familiar with the progress and quirks of wolf research as
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was in college in Northern Idaho when the wolf reintroduction began in practice. I remember it being very controversial. I think it still is but I really liked this nice balance of the political, economic, ecological and anecdotal of the reintroduction. It was very nicely done. I have often wondered what the reintroduction of the top prey into the Yellowstone ecosystem had effected and while this is not definitive (too early and too many other factors) it certainly educated me.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wolves, shelf
Well-written & insightful, for those interested in the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction project.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having visited Yellowstone this past fall, I was very excited to read this book and more about the reintroduction of the wolf to the National Park's landscape. The authors weave person accounts of interaction with the wolfs in with the scientific data collected on wolf culture and behavior. Though a bit out of date now (five years from where the book leaves off) this book was perfect for learning more about how the reintroduction was carried out and the first few years of those few wolves action ...more
Hilary A
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
First review ever, for a simply amazing book. I bought this book while in Yellowstone and devoured it on the flight home. It talks about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park from the point of view of Doug Smith. Written beautifully and simply, it is easily understood. The pictures included in the book help illustrate the author's thoughts, although the beautiful writing doesn't need much help. Since it's written from the point of view of a staff member from the start of the ...more
Mike Kane
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Held within a wolf's gaze has been everything I've needed to keep alive my sense of connection to the earth. The fact that I live in a time when these sorts of opportunities are increasingly rare has on one hand left me with with a profound feeling of gratitude for being able to do the work I do. On the other hand, that very same rarity-the fact that it's become unusual for people to have any sort of regular dose of nature, let alone trading stares with a wolf-leaves me acutely aware of how muc ...more
Robert Waldron
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by a man who has lived daily with the wolves of Yellowstone for many years, monitoring their
re-introduction, behaviour, packs, and distribution, you would probably not find more of an expert
on the new wolves in Yellowstone.
The book reflects this knowledge admirably, and further shows just how important it is to an ecosystem to have its full suite of predators, to create balance and harmony.
A fine read for those who love natural history, and the caring and informed conservation of natura
I really enjoyed this book about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. The authors take a very balanced view of the situation, but are definitely sympathetic to the wolf reintroduction. They take time to look at the concerns of the local ranchers and hunters and are respectful of their positions. I loved that the book was loaded with descriptions of wolf behavior and included several amazing photographs of the wolves. I recommend this book to any wolf or animal lover and a ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and well written account of the project to restore wolves to Yellowstone National Park. It begins with the capture of the first wolves in Canada and their acclimatization to Yellowstone, their release and expansion into multiple packs over a ten year period with lots of information on wolf behavior. I loved it.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is an easy-to-read, riveting summary of the first ten years of Yellowstone wolves, from capture in Canada to spread throughout the park. The profiles of individual wolves made me feel like I really knew them on a personal level and the whole thing was full of fascinating tidbits and evocative passages. Recommended to natural history and wolf-lovers alike.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my absolute favorite books. The combination of process and science with the stories of individual wolves really drew me in. It helped me to focus my love of nature and interest in how natural predators effect an ecosystem. It is a great book for anyone who loves biology and large mammals.
Hilary Staples
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read while spending time in Yellowstone. So fun to talk to some of the people mentioned in the book and view some of the collared wolves still holding their packs keeping the story going today.
Debbie Jacob
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at wolf biology and the re-introduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Weaved between the story of how these wolves affected the ecology of Yellowstone, the authors offer case studies of some of the wolves. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Margaret R
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More detail than I wanted. And, I would have liked more information on related changes in other species. But, it does provide the sense of awe and wonder of working in a majestic area with beautiful, elegant animals. Worth reading but skim some of the details.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want a detailed accounting on the wolves released in Yellowstone, this is a great book. Written well, it tells of the packs and the relationships both amidst and among about 10 packs in the national park. If you have an affinity for wildlife and wolves, you'll really enjoy this book.
Jodee McDowell
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul says it perfectly - well worth reading and learning about these incredible animals.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting topic but the writing didn't do it for me
Tori Roberts
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scientific. Good but not a straight read. Interesting to read and maybe go back to at times.
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in conservation. While I have read a lot about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park and the science underpinning this truly monumental undertaking, Doug Smith’s personal stories about individual wolves and the day-to-day minutiae of the reintroduction process lent a new level of richness to an already remarkable tale.
David Donaldson
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chronicles the first decade of the Yellowstone National Park wolf reintroduction. Written by the field supervisor of the program, the book offers both a personal and professional perspective on the reintroduction. Several subjects are examined, including wolf biology, behavior, politics and personal details of individual animals. Though slightly outdated now, the book still contains plenty of material for those wishing to learn about the Grey Wolf.
Janet White
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Anyone who likes wolves will enjoy this fascinating story about the return of these apex predators to Yellowstone National Park and how they literally "turned the Park around" by their presence. I always enjoy learning facts I didn't know about these wonderful creatures, so the book kept me interested from page to page.
Wendy Kendall
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Amazingly, a study conducted in 2005 estimated that some two hundred thousand people were seeing wolves in Yellowstone every year, making it hands-down the best place on Earth to observe these animals in the wild. . . . For those who’ve been peering through the spotting scopes, an unforgettable aspect of such encounters is the wolf’s eyes, which can seem to look right through you.”

These books tell the story of the reintroduction of wolves into the wilds of the world’s first national park, Yello
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my friends teaches public speaking and one of the assignments in her class (and probably every public speaking class) is a persuasive speech. She no longer allows students to speak on why wolves should be banned from Yellowstone. (Many many Wyomingites are upset about the whole thing.) Prior to her ban on the topic, she'd have several students in each class give the same speech. I can imagine you can only hear that speech, or any speech, so many times.

Wolf politics aren't of interest to m
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: zoology, fiction-non
Wolves at one time were part of the natural order in the midwest until they were exterminated. It's documented the date (and person) that killed the last wolf in the Yellowstone area. This book covers the reintroduction of the wolf back into Yellowstone in the mid 1990's.
The growth of wolf packs is interesting in and of itself, but I really enjoyed the indirect repercussions of a predator being introduced into a environment which was mainly dominated by "prey": elk & bison.

This book or me co
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating account from the perspective of the conservationists directly involved with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. It was moving to read about the stories of individual wolves and packs that have once again brought wildness back to the park. While this is an controversial issue, the book was able to present the beautiful story of the wolves and the park's recovery while also giving time to the side of the ranchers who believe that the wolves are compromising thier ...more
Mike Collins
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
an enjoyable read, focusing on the wolf reintroduction to yellowstone national park. it may not be for everybody, however those interested, they will find a very informative read. I can't help but feel that certain sections have a liberal dose of romanticism about them (the portrait of the wolf chapters in particular). this generally comes across as harmless though and other chapters introduce readers to interesting scientific theories such as the landscape of fear hypothesis. This is a good ble ...more
Pamela Okano
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, animals
Fascinating book on the introduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park authored by one of the wildlife biologists involved. Yellowstone is the one place in the US where you are almost guaranteed to see a wolf in the wild. The book is at its best when Smith is recounting the stories of many of the animals that were brought in from Canada in the two initial releases. I wish there were a sequel, since the lifespan of wolves in the wild is typically less than 4 years (although some Yellowstone wolves ha ...more
Martha Paschal
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got this for my birthday in the shop at Mammoth Hot Springs after a magical, incredible week of watching winter wildlife activity in Yellowstone, including some encounters with the Lamar Valley pack and a former alpha female of that pack, so hell yes I'm biased! If you EVER has a chance to go to Yellowstone in January or February DO NOT HESITATE!

It's wonderful to read about the tumultuous beginnings of the wolf reintroduction, and I want to participate as a volunteer in the annual Winter Study.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit, part of my 4 star rating is due to the subject matter -- I find this topic riveting. The author does a good job of conveying this science study into his personal journey. I did get a bit lost with all the wolf numbers and pack names, as he jumped around a bit. As well, part of the book seemed to be an acknowldgement for all the scientists and volunteers on the project; a quite deserved acknowledgment, that could have been expressed elsewhere. However, overall, this was a good look at ...more
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