Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.


 Science, history, and gripping narrative bring to life the centuries-long battle to save America’s keystone species. 

In the tradition of Peter Matthiessen’s Wildlife in America or Aldo Leopold’s work, Brenda Peterson tells the 300-year history of wild wolves in America. It is also our own history, seen through our relationship with wolves. Native Americans revered them. Settlers jealousy exterminated them. Now, scientists, writers, and ordinary citizens are fighting to bring them back to the wild. Peterson, an eloquent voice in the battle for twenty years, makes the powerful case that without wolves, not only will our whole ecology unravel, but well lose much of our national soul.

"A gem. Brenda Peterson reveals the complex, social, emotional, and moral lives of wolves, their strong family bonds, and their interminable struggle to return to their native wild lands, against all odds. Her stories of individual animals, including OR7 and Yellowstone's most famous wolf, the matriarch 067, show wolves as real characters, with tragedies, a passion for play, family trees, and new generations that give hope for wolf recovery in America. You will never look at wolves in the same way after reading this outstanding and compassionate book." Marc Bekoff, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals and The Animal's Agenda

"Brenda Peterson grounds her book about the conservation and ecology of wild wolves in meticulous environmental history and rigorous science and then lifts her voice in a gorgeous, powerful paean to this iconic species, essential if we are to restore whole ecosystems and human hearts. She has the courage to tell stories that need telling, and the literary brilliance to captivate readers, from the first to the last spellbinding chapter."

Cristina Eisenberg, The Wolf's Tooth 

"WOLF NATION is the most original writing on these iconic canids I've read in decades. Brenda Peterson's seamless weave of science and story never fails to surprise and delight. Her chapter "Wolf Music" is particularly breathtaking; it will transform your thinking about both music and wolves. Read this gorgeous, mind-blowing book and prepare to become an ardent advocate for co-existence with animals who turn out to be more like us than most people would have dared imagine." 

Sy Montgomery, Soul of an Octopus

"The most hated, most loved animals on the continent, wolves have been revered by Native Americans but reviled by settlers and ranchers. Wolves are just wolves to wolves, but we cannot decide who wolves are to us. This, their wonderfully crafted story, may help us decide."
Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Pre-order at independent bookstores:

Stay tuned for highlights from select chapters, including:

 —a wolf family raised at Wolf Haven and at last released into the wild ("El Lobo Returns Home")

—Yellowstone’s beloved matriarch wolf ("06: The World’s Most Famous Wolf") and how wolves mourn the loss of a family member

—a wolf who traveled over 1,000 miles to become the first wolf in a century in California ("A Wolf Called Journey")

—an in-depth reporting on the recent controversial killing of the Profanity Peak wolf family here in Washington ("Sheep Highway: Co-existing with Wolves")

—an interview with world-famous pianist, Helene Grimaud, who co-founded New York’s Wolf Conservation Center ("Wolf Music")

 The story of the Lobo family, Hopa (F1222) and Brother (M1067) wildlife photographer, Annie Marie Musselman and I began in our photo-essay book WOLF HAVEN: Sanctuary and the Future of Wolves in North America. We were fortunate enough to follow this story from the captive-born wolves to their final release into the wild—the largest releasae of a wolf family in Mexico or America. That successful conservation story is worth celebrating as wolves and the Endangered Species Act are again under siege by a new administration. Begin the story in WOLF HAVEN and read about the transport and wild release in WOLF NATION. Photos by Annie Marie Musselman.

Three Mexican gray wolf pups born as part of the federal Species Survival Program at Wolf Haven in 2015.

 Hopa, the matriarch, spring, 2016 as the 28-hour journey begins via van and plane to Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch to prepare for wild release. Hopa is poised but terrified. Imagine wolves with their heightened senses enduring rumble of freeway, roar of a jet engine, and a new Southwest home. Hopa, Brother, and their three male pups were hesitant to leave their plastic carrier kennels after the long journey. But Hopa leapt out first and the family followed.


 In New Mexico, wolf researchers discover that Hopa is pregnant and soon five more pups join the family. In December, 2016, the family of 11 wolves is released into Mexico. Here is a photo from Mexican scientists right before the night release into a remote Mexican wilderness. La Liberacion. We hope that Hopa, Brother, and the pups thrive!

(photo credit: Mexican wolf team)

 Brother (M1067) right before release with his family into the wild. 


(Photo credit: Mexican wolf release team)

 More on the Wolf Haven Facebook page

 LISTEN to the author read an from the chapter "Wolf Music" 

Why do wolves howl? In this chapter excerpt from the new book, WOLF NATION: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves Brenda Peterson explores the science and complex musical language of wolf howls. Listen to wolves howling and read an interview with world-renown classical pianist, Helene Grimaud, founder of New York's Wolf Conservation Center. WOLF NATION weaves science, history, and gripping narrative to bring to life the centuries-long battle to save America's keystone species. Chapters on "07 A Wolf Called Journey," Yellowstone's most famous matriarch wolf, "06" and the history of wolf recovery in this country. 



Hear wolves howling on the PBS NOVA site: 


Listen to Helene Grimaud perform "Moonlight Sonta" with wolves on You Tube





July, 2016 I attended the "Speak for Wolves" conference and watched the Junction Butte Pack—two wolf sisters who shared the same den with their pups. That story is the last chapter of WOLF NATION


Yellowstone's historic Lamar Valley where I first covered the reintroduction of America's wild wolves in 1995 for the Seattle Times. How wonderful to return to the Yellowstone wolves when researching WOLF NATION and meet again "Wolf Man," Rick McIntyre to witness generations of wolves descended from the original Crystal Creek pack I saw 20 years ago!

 Yellowstone's Lamar Valley, 2016 (photo credit: Brenda Peterson)