DANCE OF THE WOLVES by Roger Peters

DANCE OF THE WOLVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fresh-eyed, semi-fictionalized account of wolf-watching in Michigan's Upper Peninsula--aimed at erasing the big-bad-wolf image (like Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf and other journals and studies). Peters became interested in how wolves keep track of their terrain as a grad student in psychology. He favored the notion that they used cognitive maps--mental images of their territories--aided by scent-marked boundaries and natural landmarks like rocks. His years of observation entailed capturing wolves for radio collaring, tracking them in low-flying Cessnas or over ground, and even romping with a few animals penned near their living quarters. In one or another way, Peters was able to follow a few individual animals over several seasons, in particular a female named Freya, her pups and successive mates. He confirms much of what has been said about the intimacy of family relationships, the existence of ""lone wolves,"" and territorial behavior, and adds details of mating and prey behavior. Teamwork is needed to bag large prey like moose, but Peters is the first to admit that what may look like high-level strategy and planning may also come about fortuitously. Because scent-marking was a critical part of Peters' hypothesis, a goodly portion of his days in the frozen woods was spent collecting urine samples and scats--a humbling sort of activity that happily led to the successful completion and defense of his thesis. Pleasing if unremarkable.

Pub Date: March 11th, 1985
Publisher: McGraw-Hill