Learn and Defend!

Education motivates defense!

Defend dolphinsWhen we first learn of the dangers faced by wildlife, we are appalled. At times, we might wonder if the news we have received might be grossly overstated, as the wanton cruelties and destructive acts can sound like wild accusations without a factual base. This understandable reaction works in the favor of those who promote the destruction of our wildlife – and with it the ultimate destruction of our necessary ecological balance – by those motivated by greed and oftentimes willful ignorance.


It is hoped that you will frequent conservation and defense organizations, many found under the PawsTalk Wildlife Defense menus, to learn the facts. Learn from the experts rather than from those with their own agendas which skew the facts and often publish outright misinformation. Let science be our guide.


Defend and protect our wild wolvesIn addition to learning more about the perils faced, learn more about the individual species. Come to know them and we will appreciate them for what they are – a wild legacy that our own survival depends upon and our human spirits recognize. “Get back to nature” is not just a sweet sounding phrase. In our hectic and often stress filled lives, we are missing an element of life that is necessary for health and prosperity. This missing element is not tangible. It is not found in our career or in what new gadget we plan to buy. Humans are rooted in the real world – the natural world. Without this recognition, we are lessened. We become out of synch with life itself.


Share with others what you learn and help spread understanding amongst the people in your life. Suggested reading includes selections for adults as well as children. Knowledge gained, but not shared is dead and bears no fruit.



Where the Wild Things Were by William Stolzenburg


Where the Wild Things Were by William Stolzenburg

For years, predators like snow leopards and white-tipped sharks have been disappearing from the top of the food chain, largely as a result of human action. Science journalist Will Stolzenburg reveals why and how their absence upsets the delicate balance of the world’s environment.


From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this impassioned debut, wildlife journalist Stolzenburg examines predation’s crucial role in the preservation of ecological diversity, painting nightmarish pictures of what happens when top carnivores are exterminated from ecosystems. Without sea otters to keep ravenous sea urchins in check, some ocean floors in the North Pacific have been stripped of kelp. In Yellowstone National Park, the eradication of wolves has resulted in a glut of elk that have trampled river banks and chewed down young trees. White-tailed deer have denuded the undergrowth in the forests of the eastern United States, because wolves and cougar have disappeared. Without large meat eaters, mid-size predators—raccoons, blue jays, crows, squirrels, opossums—have proliferated, to the detriment of songbird populations. In dazzling descriptions, Stolzenburg demonstrates how the delicate balance between predator and prey is so essential, and his book, rich in dramatic accounts of life and death in the wild, is powerful and compelling. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.


Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.




Among Wolves by Gordon Haber, Marybeth Holleman


Among Wolves by Gordon Haber, Marybeth Holleman

Alaska’s wolves lost their fiercest advocate, Gordon Haber, when his research plane crashed in Denali National Park in 2009. Passionate, tenacious, and occasionally brash, Haber, a former hockey player and park ranger, devoted his life to Denali’s wolves.


He weathered brutal temperatures in the wild to document the wolves and provided exceptional insights into wolf behavior. Haber’s writings and photographs reveal an astonishing degree of cooperation between wolf family members as they hunt, raise pups, and play, social behaviors and traditions previously unknown. With the wolves at risk of being destroyed by hunting and trapping, his studies advocated for a balanced approach to wolf management. His fieldwork registered as one of the longest studies in wildlife science and had a lasting impact on wolf policies.


Haber’s field notes, his extensive journals, and stories from friends all come together in Among Wolves to reveal much about both the wolves he studied and the researcher himself. Wolves continue to fascinate and polarize people, and Haber’s work continues to resonate.





Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf by T. DeLene Beeland

Red wolves are shy, elusive, and misunderstood predators. Until the 1800s, they were common in the longleaf pine savannas and deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. However, habitat degradation, persecution, and interbreeding with the coyote nearly annihilated them. Today, reintroduced red wolves are found only in peninsular northeastern North Carolina within less than 1 percent of their former range. In The Secret World of Red Wolves, nature writer T. DeLene Beeland shadows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pioneering recovery program over the course of a year to craft an intimate portrait of the red wolf, its history, and its restoration. Her engaging exploration of this top-level predator traces the intense effort of conservation personnel to save a species that has slipped to the verge of extinction.
Beeland weaves together the voices of scientists, conservationists, and local landowners while posing larger questions about human coexistence with red wolves, our understanding of what defines this animal as a distinct species, and how climate change may swamp its current habitat.



In The Temple of Wolves by Rick Lamplugh


In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion in Wild Yellowstone by Rick Lamplugh

Editorial Reviews

If you pick up this book to learn about the wolves in Yellowstone, you will not be disappointed. Along the way, you will also learn in exquisite detail about the coyotes, ravens, cottonwoods, and sagebrush that inhabit the Lamar Valley. Rick Lamplugh approaches his subjects with reverence but not to worship. His respect is rooted in science and in the tactile sensations of his winter living amongst the creatures of the Lamar.  Review by Marjane Ambler, author of Yellowstone Has Teeth

… the perfect read for all who dream of wolves, winter and wilderness. Though Rick doesn’t shy from exposing the unsettling realities of the natural world and wildlife tourism, his skilled balance of humor, reverence and natural history enlightens and entertains…
Review by Andrea Lankford, author of Ranger Confidential


Ecolit Books review

Imagine. Three months in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, the place known as America’s Serengeti, lush with bison, elk, bear, coyotes, wolves and other wild beasts. This is where writer Rick Lamplugh and his wife Mary Strickroth choose to spend their winters, serving as volunteers at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, where seminars on the flora and fauna of Yellowstone draw visitors from across the globe.


[Lamplugh’s] observation expands into an absorbing natural history lesson about trees, sagebrush, and the theory of trophic cascades, which in a nutshell proposes that when natural predators (i.e., wolves) are removed from an ecosystem there is a significant, and often deleterious, effect on the plant and animal species left behind.


Lamplugh teaches his readers in a friendly, understated way. Most of what he shares is what he learns himself — from the land, the animals, as well as from the instructors he comes to know at Buffalo Camp. His curiosity is youth-like and contagious, drawing us into his stories as well as his moments of realization.


As the title suggests, this book talks a lot about wolves. We follow Lamplugh and other wolf fans as they search the Lamar Valley for a sight of Canis lupus. We meet Rick McIntyre, Yellowstone’s tireless wolf watcher, whose vast knowledge of wolves is generously shared in this book. And we meet ‘06, the courageous and much loved alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack. On December 6, 2012, ’06 was shot (legally, as wolves had recently been removed from the Endangered Species List) when she stepped out of the park. Her death was followed by that of several others, helping to reduce the number of wolves in Yellowstone from ninety-eight in 2011 to only seventy-one in 2013.


There’s a fresh quality to this book, a sincere sense of wonder at both the harshness and the beauty that Yellowstone has to offer. Lamplugh is passionate without being sentimental. And his writing is descriptive and clear, with a balanced blend of interesting facts and personal impressions.  Reading In the Temple of Wolves is like watching a well-done PBS special, only more intimate and a lot more amusing.





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