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Good Reads  Mammals  Insectivores to Ungulates  Carnivores  Wolves, Dogs, Foxes & other Canids

The Rise of Wolf 8 Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog

Nature Writing New
By: Rick McIntyre(Author), Robert Redford(Foreword By)
297 pages, 8 plates with colour photos, 1 b/w map
Publisher: Greystone Books
NHBS
Written by the world's most dedicated wolf-watcher, The Rise of Wolf 8 is an epic chronicle that provides an intimate picture of the first wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.
The Rise of Wolf 8
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  • The Rise of Wolf 8 ISBN: 9781771645218 Hardback Oct 2019 In stock
    £16.99£18.99
    #246449
  • The Rise of Wolf 8 ISBN: 9781771647809 Paperback Oct 2020 In stock
    £12.99
    #250932
Selected version: £16.99
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About this book

Authored by a renowned naturalist and wolf researcher, The Rise of Wolf 8 reads like a gripping hero's journey, interweaving themes of tragedy, revenge, love, and heartbreak to craft a powerful portrait of an exceptional alpha wolf, whose dramatic life will forever transform our understanding of this iconic yet persecuted species.

The Rise of Wolf 8 follows the incredible journey of one of the first wolves to inhabit Yellowstone in more than 60 years. In 1928, park rangers killed the last Yellowstone wolf, and in 1995, they sought to bring the species back. Small and slight, Wolf 8 struggles at first, but later thrives, as he surprisingly steps into the role of alpha male for a female whose mate was shot. Wolf 8 excels at hunting, protecting his family, and even defending against the rival pack that killed his father. But soon his valor is tested in a tragic face-off against his own son, resulting in a dramatic twist ending. Alternately heart-wrenching and uplifting, and uniquely cinematic, The Rise of Wolf 8 is the mark of an original bold new trilogy.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • An epic chronicle
    By Leon (NHBS Catalogue Editor) 5 Oct 2020 Written for Paperback


    The lives of animal groups can be as full of intrigue, drama, and machinations as any novel or movie starring humans. But revealing this requires extraordinary perseverance. Following their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, no other wolves in the world have been more closely monitored. And of all the people involved, nobody has spent more time in the field watching them than biological technician and park ranger Rick McIntyre. Amongst wolf aficionados, wolf 21 – for the wolves are identified by a number – was one the most famous. But before 21, there was wolf 8, and this is his story.

    McIntyre has been involved with the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project from the beginning in 1995. He has worked as wolf interpreter, initially part of the year and later year-round, giving talks to visitors and helping them spot wolves in the field. The Rise of Wolf 8 is the first in a trilogy to tell the life stories of some of the park’s notable alpha wolves. Now, before we turn to the wolves, a word about “perseverance”, for revealing their stories in this level of detail would not have been possible without it. In the afterword, project leader Douglas W. Smith puts some numbers on it: 25 years, including 6,175 consecutive (!) days in the field from 2000-2015; over 100,000 wolf sightings when this book went to print; 12,000 pages of notebooks filled with observations. McIntyre has dedicated himself to this project with a passion that borders on the obsessive.

    The result is an unprecedented chronicle of several generations of wolves. The first pack to arrive from Canada became known as the Crystal Creek Pack, encompassing an alpha male and female with their four male pups, one of which was 8. Initially the runt of the litter being picked on by his brothers, he soon reveals himself to be fearless when McIntyre witnesses him single-handedly facing off against a grizzly bear when the pups steal its catch. From here on outwards it becomes clear he has the makings of a very successful wolf.

    When the alpha male of the second introduced pack, the Rose Creek Pack, is illegally killed, wolf 8 is accepted by the alpha female as the new alpha male and adopts her children, which includes wolf 21. A third pack, the Druid Peak Pack, is introduced in 1996 and from here on the web of players around 8 increases sharply. When both Druid males are illegally shot, 21 leaves his pack and joins the Druids as their new alpha male. Though 21 seems smitten with one of the three Druid females, 42, the pack’s alpha female, 40, is a tyrannical ruler who is no stranger to killing rival wolves or preventing her sisters from breeding. 21’s story will be told in the second book of the trilogy, The Reign of Wolf 21, but the relationship between 8 and 21, and what the adopted son seems to have learned from his stepfather, is notable. The inevitable showdown between the two packs at the end of the book is nothing short of hair-raising.

    These three packs go on to have several generations of pups, and other packs also come into existence as some yearlings set out on their own. The tangle of place names and numbered wolves, combined with McIntyre’s numerous descriptions of episodes of wolves interacting, meant that the book did start to wear on me a bit midway through as I tried to keep track of who was doing what, where, and with whom or to whom. The book opens with a map and three partial family trees, and I found myself referring to these frequently. Still, I feel this book could have benefited from some more infographics, drawings, or photos with each chapter. The plate section only shows wolf 8 in two group photos taken from some distance, one in which he is partially behind a tree. I am not even sure that the jacket, credited as “photograph of a gray wolf by Jim Cumming”, shows wolf 8. Early on, McIntyre mentions having stopped taking cameras into the field to focus solely on observations with a spotting scope.

    Despite the somewhat repetitive writing, what McIntyre reveals here, both from the viewpoint of intergenerational dynasties and of individual wolf personalities, is remarkable. His behavioural descriptions are mostly factual, describing sequences as he observed them, but he does not shy away from interpreting them and clearly indicates where he does so. This involves both attributing emotional states to behaviours and showing that wolves have awareness of certain situations, states of mind, and foresight. Personally, I do not think this crosses over into anthropomorphising wolves. Biologists such as Frans de Waal and Carl Safina, whose book Beyond Words first put me on the track of McIntyre’s work, have hardened my conviction that animals have both intelligence and personalities. McIntyre is the living embodiment of Safina's admonishment that students of behaviour should get out more and observe animals in the field, and I doubt that there is anyone better positioned to make these interpretations. Many of the unique observations recorded here are invaluable to ethologists, and McIntyre has been a source of unpublished data and personal communications to other wolf researchers (e.g. for Mech et al.’s books Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation and Wolves on the Hunt). That said, McIntyre mostly provides anecdotes here and only occasionally links it to some of the other wolf research done in the park. I expect that the upcoming book Yellowstone Wolves will provide very interesting background reading.

    Fact is, I will likely never visit Yellowstone National Park to see the wolves there for myself. But this book, and the many intimate moments McIntyre describes, allow me to vicariously experience observing them through a spotting scope with an experienced interpreter by my side. The Rise of Wolf 8 is a unique and epic chronicle by the world’s most dedicated wolf-watcher and comes highly recommend if you have any interest in wolves and their behaviour. I am very much looking forward to finding out how the story continues.
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Biography

Rick McIntyre has worked in national parks for more than fifty years and has recorded more sightings of wild wolves than any other person. For fifteen years, he rose before dawn every day to observe the Yellowstone wolves. Now retired, he has spoken about the Yellowstone Wolves with news outlets such as 60 Minutes and NPR’s Snap Judgement, and is profiled extensively in American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee.

In addition to his work as an actor, director and producer, Robert Redford has been a passionate art and environmental activist since the early 1970’s. He has been an advocate for climate change awareness, clean energy and habitat protection for over 40 years.

Nature Writing New
By: Rick McIntyre(Author), Robert Redford(Foreword By)
297 pages, 8 plates with colour photos, 1 b/w map
Publisher: Greystone Books
NHBS
Written by the world's most dedicated wolf-watcher, The Rise of Wolf 8 is an epic chronicle that provides an intimate picture of the first wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.
Media reviews

"[McIntyre's] greatest strength is the quiet respect and wonder with which he regards his subjects, a quality clearly informed by decades of careful watching."
Publishers Weekly

"Yellowstone's resident wolf guru Rick McIntyre has been many things to many people: an expert tracker for the park's biologists, an indefatigable roadside interpreter for visitors, and an invaluable consultant to countless chronicles of the park's wolves – including my own. But he is first and foremost a storyteller whose encyclopedic knowledge of Yellowstone's wolf reintroduction project – now in its 25th year – is unparalleled."
– Nate Blakeslee, New York Times bestselling author of American Wolf

"[McIntyre] spins the best stories about wolves that anyone will ever tell. No one could match it."
– Douglas W. Smith, senior wildlife biologist and project leader for the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project

"The Rise of Wolf 8 is a saga of triumph and tragedy, tribal warfare, love and loss, sagacity and survival, revealing new insights into the complexity of lupine existence. You will be richly rewarded by reading each detail patiently – they all lead to a gripping climax to an altogether stunning story."
– Norm Bishop, director of the Wolf Recovery Foundation and co-author of Yellowstone's Northern Range: Complexity and Change in a Wildland Ecosystem

"Rick McIntyre is a fabulous researcher. He dedicated his life to documenting the histories of generations of wolves in Yellowstone. I envy the hours he spent in the field talking to people about wolves and tracking the wolves movements in the most beautiful country in the world. I'm glad he is now sharing his research with the world."
– Scott Frazier, Crow – Santee, Director of Project Indigenous

"This book is your invitation and opportunity to spend years inside Yellowstone National Park alongside the man who has spent more time watching wolves than anyone in the history of the world. As your patient teacher, he will show you that wolves are all individuals, and that the lives they lead are truly epic."
– Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"No one I know of has watched wild wolves longer or more closely than Rick McIntyre. I also have met few who are as good at weaving interesting stories from those unique observations. He witnessed multi-generational sagas of victory, defeat, joy, and survival of Shakespearean proportions among the most famous wolf packs on earth."
– Ed Bangs, former US Fish & Wildlife Service Wolf Recovery Coordinator; led the reintroduction of Yellowstone wolves

"For many years I've thought that Rick McIntyre is the 'go-to-guy' for all things wolf, and his latest book, The Rise of Wolf 8, amply confirms my belief. A must read – to which I'll return many times – for anyone interested in wolves and other nature. Wolves and humans are lucky to have Rick McIntyre."
– Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of Rewilding Our Hearts and Canine Confidential

"To follow the ever-changing destinies of the Yellowstone wolves is to witness a real-life drama, complete with acts of bravery, tragedy, sacrifice, and heroism. Rick McIntyre has monitored the park's wolves since reintroduction. He once said, 'Certain wolves that I have come to know, they are better at being wolves than I have been at being a person.'"
– Jim and Jamie Dutcher, founders of Living with Wolves

"McIntyre has here written the captivating story of individual wolves and their personalities in their natural setting of competing with other packs, starting with those reintroduced into Yellowstone Park. Their stories will become a classic in animal behavior, with impacts reaching into ecology, conservation biology, and comparisons to human social evolution. All is presented with skill and verve to be accessible to a wide audience."
– Bernd Heinrich, PhD, University of Vermont, author of Mind of the Raven

"By absorbing himself in Yellowstone National Park and making its wolves central in his life, Rick McIntyre uncovered a rich panoply of personality differences and social complexity in their daily lives and activities. The result is to recast this much-maligned species in a deeply sympathetic, compassionate, and mesmerizing way."
– John B. Theberge, PhD, wolf biologist and author of Wolf Country

"Rick's book is a testament to the irreplaceable value of direct and long term observation of wild animals in their habitat. No trick of modern technology will ever be able to catch the subtleties of the messages sent by just a glance or the sophisticated mechanisms of leadership in a wolf pack. This book will tell you all this and much more: its contribution to wolf biology is immense, for scientists as well as for wolf lovers."
– Luigi Boitani, Honorary Professor, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, University of Rome, Italy

"Mother Nature is never pressed for time; she can be slow to reveal her secrets. Patience, determination, and endless curiosity are required to gain understanding of her ways. Those characteristics were Rick McIntyre's stock in trade as he achieved previously unimagined insight into the lives of Yellowstone's wolves. He is a naturalist of the finest kind. The Rise of Wolf 8 is a cardinal contribution to our understanding of the wonders of the wild world around us still."
– Mike Phillips, Montana state senator, executive director, Turner Endangered Species Fund, and former project leader of Yellowstone wolf and red wolf restoration programs

"There are numerous endlessly compelling tales of Yellowstone's first twenty-five years' experience in wolf restoration. Fortunately, Rick McIntyre has risen to the challenge of explaining what happened using the actual wolf alphas as the primary teachers. It's a brilliant concept and Rick is uniquely qualified to make it work."
– John Varley, former director of the Yellowstone Center for Resources at Yellowstone National Park

"My brother and I were asked by Yellowstone National Park to perform Native Welcoming and Adoption Ceremonies for the wolves during both reintroduction phases, in 1995 and 1996. Around this time, we became acquainted with Rick McIntyre. What impressed us most is he knows wolves in much the way we do. He knows their birthdates and places, family histories, personalities, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. In other words, he KNOWS them as individuals. We are ever-grateful for Rick's knowledge of, investment in, and love for our extended four-legged family."
– John Potter, Anishinabe, wildlife artist

"In The Rise of Wolf 8, Rick McIntyre presents the personal lives of wild wolves in a riveting narrative without equal in detail or insight. 'They're just like people' will be a common response, but then wolves are something more than that as well. This book is a personalized account of Rick's life watching wolves and trying to understand why they do the things they do. Rick had no larger agenda, but this task took decades of devotion and consumed most of his life. We are so fortunate that we can, through this book, share the ride. There is always something more to learn, Rick obviously thought, and the wonder he shares is contagious."
– Rolf Peterson, PhD, Michigan Technological University, author of The Wolves of Isle Royale

"Yellowstone Park naturalist Rick McIntyre long ago broke the world record for having watched wolves for the longest time. Now, this book, the first of several, begins to tell us about all the fascinating details he faithfully and meticulously recorded."
– L. David Mech, PhD, University of Minnesota, founder of the International Wolf Center

"Rick McIntyre knows more about Yellowstone's wolves than anyone. What is so fascinating about Rick, besides his passion and knowledge of wolves, is his ability to communicate intimate details about their personal and family lives through storytelling. For almost fifty years, I've had the pleasure of hearing him tell these stories and watching the people around me totally enthralled. This book is a must-read and a treasure for anyone who loves the places where wild wolves howl."
– Thomas D. Mangelsen, nature photographer and conservationist

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