Our Place In The World

Grey Wolf

Writing a book about a feral child who was raised by wolves requires me to do a lot of research on both feral children and wolves. While I don’t consider myself an expert by any measure, this research taught me a lot, particularly about the reintroduction of wolves in the United States. My book wouldn’t be possible without it.

Those in the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, and other places wolves once again call home are likely aware of the controversy over removing wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species. There has been heated debate over the wolf hunts now allowed in many of these states.

One character in my book is very passionate about defending wolves and the wolf cause. While I never want anyone to believe he is a fictionalized version of me, I do share a few of his views.

But no one in this ridiculous little town knows how to live within their environment and work with it. They want to dominate it, because they are too small-minded to see they are a piece in the puzzle… not the puzzle itself, not the box it came in. One piece.

–Gilles Garnier, Habituation

I once threw a puzzle away, because it was missing a piece. It drove me nuts. But the world isn’t so easy. When it loses a puzzle piece, all kinds of things change–the proverbial butterfly effect, or more accurately, trophic cascades. Wolves in particular have shown how complex and fascinating the ecosystems in our world are, as seen in this beautiful video that includes part of George Monbiot’s Ted Talk about the rewilding of Yellowstone National Park.

While I also believe, as George Carlin said,

The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

It would be good if we kept things nice enough to stick around for a while. I like a world with wolves and rhinos and lions, and people in the future might like them too.

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