The story 'Never Cry Wolf' by Farley Mowat is about of a young
biologist. A biologist is someone who studies animals, usually in their
own habitat. The time is the mid-1950's. The place is northern Canada.
Farley Mowat is that young biologist. He has just finished university
and has started his first job. He is being sent to the North by the
Canadian government's wildlife service to study arctic wolves. The
huge herds of caribou that once wandered the north have all but
vanished. This destruction is being blamed on the wolves. Everyone
knows, of course, that wolves are vicious, dangerous and useless
animals that need to be destroyed to protect the helpless caribou.
Farley's job is to prove that the wolves are the cause of the problem.
Then the government will be justified in murdering the wolves.
Farley Mowat has a wonderful sense of humour. He uses this sense of
humour to poke fun at the government, people's attitudes towards
wolves, and the inexperience of a young man on a new job. He is sent
off into the north with all kinds of weapons which he quickly discovers
he doesn't need. The wolves are not dangerous; they allow Farley to
closely observe their lives. The native people think Farley is a little odd
if not crazy. That he is crazy is confirmed in their minds when Farley
begins eating mice! Farley has noticed that the arctic wolves are eating
large numbers of mice. He sets out to do a scientific experiment to
determine if eating only mice provides a balanced diet. Since he has no
subjects to use in his experiment, Farley decides to experiment on
'Never Cry Wolf' is a wonderful story that illustrates how little we
really know about wild animals. Farley Mowat was in the wilderness
doing his study at a time when serious study of wolves was just
beginning. This is one of the first books to show wolves in a realistic
manner. While the story is almost thirty years old now, it is certainly
still worth reading and enjoying.
'Never Cry Wolf' was also made into a movie and should be available
at your local video store. In general, the movie is the same as the book,
although some events and especially the ending has been changed. The
movie is worth watching for it shows us the vastness of the arctic lands
and the majesty of the wolves.
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