The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save America’s Other Wolf by T. Delene Beeland- Book Review

As the gray wolf war rages on in the west, another problem has been unfolding along the east coast without all the headlines. During the month of November 2013, 6 red wolves were illegally killed within a month in NC. Thus, it’s the perfect time to go and grab a copy of The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf by T. Delene Beeland. Appreciation
stimulates conservation, and this book will certainly make you appreciate these fascinating canines.

Beeland divides the book up into three main parts: 1) The Red Wolf Today; 2) The Red Wolf Yesterday; and 3) The Red Wolf Tomorrow. Within these sections, Beeland uses the wealth of information that she has accumulated through experience and research to tell this grand story of Canis rufus. Lots of important science is weaved throughout the story.

Part I covers several seasons. Through hiking in the field and interviewing the biologists, Beeland is able to relay the current status of these wolves. Readers will be surprised to learn that red wolves were, in fact, the very first wolves introduced in the United States, that they actually benefit the ecosystem by eating nonnative nutria, and that they are actually more scared of you than you are of them. Part II deals with taxonomic history of the red wolf, their early decline because of settlers’ fear of “big bad” wolves, and the history of how they came to be reintroduced in NC. Part III discusses what types of things still need to happen for this recovery effort to be successful.

This is a book every North Carolinian interested in science should read because this great effort is taking place in our backyard. It is a book anyone interested in the need for apex predators should read. Beeland’s vast knowledge and enthusiasm make this a book that is hard to put down.

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