Mon Panier
An endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Eureka, Missouri. Photo: Joel Sartore

Coming Back

Rick Bass
Winter 2009

Mexican wolves – smaller and often redder than their northern cousins, the Rocky Mountain gray wolves – have been having a hard time trying to recover down in New Mexico and Arizona. Physically, it’s harsher country – drier and rockier, less productive than the northern Rockies – and it’s also a less-accepting place sociologically. The gray wolves have not always been exactly celebrated unanimously in the north, but I believe even greater fear and loathing exists in some of the ranchers down in the Southwest, particularly on the marginal, drought-stressed public lands where those ranchers – like the wolves – are trying to hang on.

The wolves almost didn’t make it back to this country at all, meager though their clinghold is now. Wolves are one of the most adaptable large social mammals in the world, possessing what biologists call plasticity – second only to our own in their ability to adapt to a variety of habitats. Wolves prosper in a variety of wild habitats, while we excel at manipulating ours.

À propos de l'auteur
Rick Bass is the author of 24 books of fiction and nonfiction, including his forthcoming memoir The Wild Marsh. He is also a member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council, which seeks wilderness designation for the last roadless lands in Montana’s Yaak Valley. People who go out on a limb to help animals survive need our support. You can find organic beef and predator-friendly ranchers at