Wolfology -- even if it isn't a word you'll find in Webster's, it seems to capture what this website is all about. Namely, the study of wolves. Admittedly, it's an unorthodox name. But not too long ago, studying wolves was considered unorthodox, too, a path that would almost certainly leave a biologist languishing in the hinterland of the scientific community, or a layman to be labeled a flake. Now, though, wolves are the poster children for the modern conservation movement. They are "mainstream." They test our commitment to living in harmony with nature, rather than fighting against it. Wolves aren't cruel, bloodthirsty demons lurking in forest shadow. Nor are they likeable, "furry, four-legged people," to borrow a phrase coined by Paul Schullery. Hopefully, you'll discover the real wolf in this archive of facts.
In Search of Wolves
I am not certain when it was that I became devoted to wolf recovery. I have always been an animal lover, but the big cats were what fascinated me most as a youth. I never gave wolves much thought. I grew up in Texas, and during my teens the last gray wolf in the state was killed, while the red wolf clung with futile perseverence to an ever-shrinking habitat in the eastern half of the state. Of all this I was blissfully ignorant.
But then I became a novelist -- a writer of frontier stories, for the most part -- and sometimes my research acquainted me with aspects of the wolf's story. It is a tragic tale. The wolf, reviled and nearly eradicated from the Lower 48, intrigued me. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. At some point along the way I became a "wolf person." But until recently I did not have the wherewithal to do much more than become a member of, or donate to, organizations dedicated to wolf recovery in the United States.
After ten years of hard labor I became fairly well-established as an author, which boils down to getting paid more to produce fewer books. With some free time on my hands, I turned my attention to wolves. By then they had become a passion. I wanted to do something to help in the crusade to restore the wolf -- now a symbol of a vanishing wilderness, and the focal point of spirited combat in the arena of environmental politics -- to at least parts of its historic range. "I want to live long enough to see the wolf run wild again in Colorado and Texas, in Maine and the Southwest," became my mantra. But exactly how could I help?
In order to do that I had to learn everything I could about the wolf. I bought and read all the books and treatises I could find. I went to the public and university libraries and photocopied every article and essay I could uncover. I launched a wolf advocacy group in my state -- the Wolf Recovery Group of Texas. And I traveled, meeting some remarkable wolf people along the way -- men and women from all walks of life who have devoted themselves with unremitting fervor to the crusade for wolf recovery. As I went from New Mexico to New York, from Idaho to Indiana in search of wolves, it occurred to me that these people and their organizations were playing a crucial role in restoring the wolf to the mountains and forests from whence we had so ruthlessly driven it. Such people deserve to be recognized, their sacrifices noted, their triumphs noted.
But the key to triumph in this crusade is knowledge. And that's why I created this website. There are many websites about the wolf, and they're all great. But there seemed to be a crying need for an archive of all the articles, essays and treatises I had read and copied and filed away. So here it is. I urge you -- begin your search for wolves in these pages. Read, learn, and join the fight.
The fate of the wolf will clarify the kind of world we have chosen to make for ourselves, and whether we can learn that we are better off living in harmony with our environment rather than trying to master it. In searching for wolves, I realized I was also looking for something personal, something that could not be found in a world of computers and combustion engines. In nature there is a synergy among all living things, a connection one cannot experience in a world of machines -- indeed, machines increasingly isolate us and warp our perceptions in so many ways. The more "civilized" we have become, the more chaotic is our existence. There is no chaos in the world of the wolf, except that which man has made. The wolf knows its place and purpose in the order of things, while we have lost sight of ours. When you look into the amber eyes of the wolf, you see the world with a new understanding that is as old as the mountains.