For seventeen years, Ian McAllister has lived on the rugged north coast of British Columbia, one of the last places on the planet where wolves live relatively undisturbed by humans. The Last Wild Wolves describes his experiences over that period following two packs of wolves, one in the extreme outer coastal islands and another farther inland in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
The behavior of these animals – which depend on the vast old-growth forest and its gifts – is documented in words and pictures as they fish for salmon in the fall, target seals hauled out on rocks in winter, and give birth to their young in the base of thousand-year-old cedar trees in spring. Most interestingly, scientific studies reveal a genetically distinct population of wolves – one that is increasingly threatened by human incursions.
6 Introduction by Paul C. Paquet
15 prologue Apex Predator
33 stealth season Spring
73 on the edge Summer
119 salmon forests Fall
147 nomads of the rain forest Winter
179 epilogue The Eyes of the Wolf
Ian McAllister is a co-founder of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild. (pacificwild.org) He is the author of five previous books, including The Great Bear Rainforest and The Last Wild Wolves. He has been honoured by the Globe and Mail as one of 133 highly accomplished Canadians, and he and his wife, Karen McAllister, were named by Time magazine as “Leaders of the 21st Century” for their efforts to protect British Columbia’s endangered rainforest. A member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, he has won the North American Nature Photography Association’s Vision Award and the Rainforest Action Network’s Rainforest Hero Award. He lives with his family on an island in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Paul C. Paquet holds a PhD in zoology from the University of Alberta and is an internationally recognized authority on wolves. He is an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. He lives in Saskatchewan.
"McAllister's deep love for the animals is palpable, and throughout the well-written account, we come to know and care for Ernest, Three Legs, and the other members of the packs he studies. He argues that wolves have much to teach us about larger questions of ecology, perseverance, and self-sacrifice."
– Georgia Straight
"McAllister's extraordinary photographs come from waiting for his subjects to show themselves. He watches from tree platforms built over rivers where the wolves catch salmon, and he shoots while sitting motionless among packs that have consented to tolerate his presence among them [...] The resulting photos are thrilling, especially the close-ups of wolves' faces [...] and the panoramic landscape shots, but the word-pictures conjured by McAllister's text are equally vivid."
– Victoria Times Colonist
"Mr. McAllister inherited his environmental ethic from his father, Peter, a shipping industry executive turned conservationist who led battles to protect wilderness areas on Vancouver Island [...] On a trip to support a blockade at Sulphur Pass in Clayoquot Sound in 1988, the elder Mr. McAllister 'volunteered' his then-19-year-old son to sit in a hanging wicker basked on a hillside to prevent blasting for a logging road into a disputed wilderness area. 'I sat in the basket reading Margaret Atwood novels and slapping mosquitoes,' Ian McAllister recalled. 'It introduced me to front-line activism.'"
– Globe & Mail
"A book sure to appeal to lovers of fine nature photography as much as to conservationists and environmentalists, The Last Wild Wolves is a coffee-table tome, but with well-written essays that carry a strong message of reverence for the disappearing wild, and a strong message about the interdependence of humans and the natural world."
– Boulevard Magazine
"A coffee-table book full of McAllister's photos plus a substantial and engaging text, Last Wild Wolves tells the story of a species most people know little about."
– Monday Magazine
"For McAllister, wolves are anything but cold, bloodthirsty creatures. They are intelligent and fascinating animals, highly attuned to their environment and able to use cunning, skill and strength to hunt and kill prey. To gather material for the book, McAllister spent weeks and months following wolf packs, allowing time for the canines to become accustomed to his scent and presence. He has enough anecdotes from his trips to fill a stack of notebooks."
– BC Bookworld
"The Last Wild Wolves is a sobering work, a book that brims with brilliance, emotion, and knowledge [...] Ian gets as up close and personal with the wolves as possible, with photos so intense you can see the wolves' eyes, and their penetrating stares that look right into the soul of those they make visual contact with."
– Shelf Life
"This book will leave you slack-jawed at the wonders of the wild wolf and educated about the raw deal humans are giving them [...] McAllister documents with passion how the lives of these coastal wolves are so interconnected with their half-land, half-water habitat."
– Calgary Herald
"Unleash your inner wild thing with this beautiful account of the marine wolves of northern British Columbia."
– National Post
"Without a doubt, this book has some of the best images of wild wolves that you'll ever see [...] the most valuable part of this book is the familiarity it gives with a true pearl of an ecosystem that is relatively intact. McAllister's passion to protect the Great Bear Rainforest is evident, and the narrative he waves shines a light that will surely enhance public appreciation and raise awareness, which may lead to its preservation."
– BBC Wildlife
"A great book for anyone who enjoys the natural world and thrills at close encounters with an ancient predator."
– Explorers Journal
"Ian McAllister's love for the wolves and ecosystems of Canada's North Pacific Coast runs like an invisible current beneath the surface of this book's pages."
– Dallas Morning News
"An amazing collection of breathtaking images that expertly document the daily lives of these elusive animals."
"Absorbing and educational, as well as detailed and colorful."
– Wildlife Activist
"More than gorgeous pictures [...] A cut above most large-format books."
– Daily Press, Victorville, Ca
"An inspiring book [...] The text is a delight, both informative and elegantly and entertainingly written."
– Library Journal
"This beautiful book is the first intensive study the lives of Pacific coastal wolves as well as the first photographic documentation of their lives [...] The author acclimated them to his presence and was able to photograph their behavior at sunrise and sunset. The resulting photos are often ethereal, bathed in the low, misty light so typical of this temperate rainforest [...] An absolutely wonderful book."
"The rain coast of British Columbia is one of the few wild pearls left in our natural world-where wolves and white bears stalk the foggy forests as they have for millennia. McAllister, along with Paquet and Darimont, wolf minds par excellence, live amongst the tides and teeming life of this rare, rare ecosystem."
– Douglas W. Smith, author of Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone and The Wolves of Yellowstone
"It is here, among the wildest archipelagos of coastal British Columbia, that we witness, through McAllister's exquisite photos and essays, a window into an ancient, more magical world [...] The observational detail is unparalleled."
– Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years and The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears
"Ian McAllister has had the great fortune to witness an ecosystem of incredible mystery. I am grateful to him for his efforts to help preserve this unique landscape and read with great engagement of his experiences among a nation of wolves like no others."
– Rick Bass, author of The New Wolves: The Return of the Mexican Wolf to the American Southwest and Caribou Rising: Defending the Porcupine Herd, Gwich-'in Culture, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
"This book takes you into a world few people are lucky enough to visit. The writing is vivid and engaging, and the message is compelling."
– Robert Bateman, world-renowned wildlife painter and author of Thinking Like a Mountain