Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf: Back to the Blue

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The return of the Mexican gray wolf to Arizona's Blue Range in 1998 marked more than a victory for an endangered species. Long hated by ranchers, the gray wolf had been hunted to the brink of extinction until one woman took on the challenge of restoring it to its natural habitat.

Inspired by the plight of the Mexican gray wolf, retiree Bobbie Holaday formed the citizens advocacy group Preserve Arizona's Wolves (P.A.WS.) in 1987 and embarked on a crusade to raise public awareness. She soon found herself in the center of a firestorm of controversy, with environmentalists taking sides against ranchers and neighbors against neighbors. This book tells her story for the first time, documenting her eleven-year effort to bring the gray wolf back to the Blue.

As Holaday quickly learned, ranchers exerted considerable control over the state legislature, and politicians in turn controlled decisions made by wildlife agencies. Even though the wolf had been listed as endangered since 1976, opposition to it was so strong that the Arizona Game and Fish Department had been unable to launch a recovery program. In The Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf, Holaday describes first-hand the tactics she and other ordinary citizens on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team adopted to confront these obstacles. Enhanced with more than 40 photographs—32 in color—her account chronicles both the triumphs of reintroduction and the heartbreaking tragedies the wolves encountered during early phases.

Thanks to Holaday's perseverance, eleven wolves were released into the wild in 1998, and the Blue Range once again echoed with their howls. Her tenacity was an inspiration to all those she enlisted in the cause, and her story is a virtual primer for conservation activists on mobilizing at the grassroots level. The Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf shows that one person can make a difference in a seemingly hopeless cause and will engage all readers concerned with the preservation of wildlife.

All royalties go to the Mexican Wolf Trust Fund administered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Holaday, an ordinary citizen and a leading member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, covers the tactics her team used to win the support of ranchers, the problems of teaching zoo-born wolves how to be wild again, the joys of pups born to successfully reintroduced wolves, and the inevitable heartbreaks as wolves disappear or are shot by enraged local citizens. Holaday is a passionate advocate of the wolves and writes with intensity, but she never veers off into the rhetoric or sarcasm that often characterizes polemical writing. Highly recommended." —Booklist"A must read for anyone truly interested in wolf reintroduction in the Southwest. . . . Holaday shows us the importance of bringing wolf-huggers and wolf-haters to a middle ground where wolves and people and mountains can mutually exist and we can still enjoy the call of the wild." —Sky Island Alliance"Perhaps the greatest value of this book is Holaday’s subtle reprimand of both cattle ranchers and environmentalists for remaining polarized and failing to understand the other side. Her collaborative approach is a model for success in other controversial projects. An ecological success story with the charismatic wolves at its center, this book will be enjoyed by any wildlife and nature lover, and wildlife managers and activists would do well to heed Holaday’s message." —Wildlife Activist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816522965
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bobbie Holaday has received numerous awards in recognition of her role in restoring the gray wolf, including the Defenders of Wildlife's Conservation Award for Excellence and the Sierra Club's Award for Outstanding Achievement. She lives in Phoenix and continues to work and speak on behalf of wolves.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Back to the Blue - and Before 3
2 The Calling and the Challenge 19
3 Our Major Symposium 34
4 P.A.WS. Takes Positive Action 48
5 Howling for Wolves 65
6 Blue Task Force and More Human Howls 77
7 The Envirnomental Impact Statement Process Drags On 87
8 Just Too Muddy to Plow 102
9 Success Follows Many Delays 110
10 The Big Event 121
11 A Prayer Answered and Bad Happenings 129
12 No One Said It Would Be Easy 136
13 The Unpredictable Wolves 147
14 When Will the Killings Stop? 156
15 Renewed Hope for the Mexican Wolves 171
16 From the Frontier to the Ecological Era 182
Epilogue 191
Sources and Suggested Reading 203
Source Credits 211
Index 213
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