The Californian Wildlife Services realized that there was a decline in the number of caribou in the world. Their first guess was that the arctic wolves were preying on the species hence causing a decline in their population. Set out to uncover the truth, the wildlife service sent Farley Mowat into the arctic region to uncover the truth about the decreasing population. As a result of his study, Farley documented his story in the memoir ‘Never Cry Wolf’, telling the true story of the relationship between the wolves and the caribou. The results were contrary to the expectations of the society.
Never Cry Wolf is a book by Mowat, Farley, about the remarkable true life story of living with arctic wolves. Critics credit the book with having changed the view of humans towards wolves as a more positive one. Having been narrated by the first person, the novel gives the audience a peek at the life of the arctic wolves and the manner with which they interacted with Farley. People have a negative attitude towards wolves. Reading the recount convinces an individual that wolves are not as evil creatures as people portray them.
Farley’s initial idea of the novel was to write a publication satirizing another animal, the bureaucrat. However, this view was changed. This is because he was set out on convincing the public that wolves are not as evil as they portray them. He had the intention of convincing people that wolves do coexist with other organisms. The new focus of the novel was to document the lives of the arctic wolves, and their coexistence schedule. The wild life services in Canada noticed that there was a decline in the number of caribou in the wild. The service assigned Farley the job of researching and finding out whether wolves in the region caused this decline.
He notes that individuals have a notion about wolves, a notion that is uninformed and misguided. One of his observations was that wolves would subsist on small rodents rather than the bigger animal species. There is a mythological view of wolves that the society has, and it was Farley’s idea to change it. He asserts that society has painted the wolf as the epitome of a savage, ruthless killer, a notion that was based on tales told years and years over, and with little evidence. The wolf is doomed, not because of what it is, but of this notion the society perceive of it.
The book was a success across the country, and the citizens were delighted to learn about the new findings. It was after the publication that concerned citizens bombarded the wildlife service in Canada with letters opposing the wrongful killing of wolves. The book’s reception by society was warm, but the biologists were not pleased with the author. Farley had alluded that the Canadian Wildlife Services was set out to exterminate the wolves. The society was angered by this accusation claiming that they had not demanded the wolves to be exterminated because the creatures are an integral aspect of the ecosystem.
They also lay the accusation that the author had not been sent into the wild to justify wolf extermination, but rather to investigate the survival relationship between the wolves and the caribou, either as a food source or a vital part of their survival. The novel received too much popularity such that it was translated into other languages such as Russian for other individuals around the globe to understand the reality of the wolves. The message in the book about wolves being harmless became rampant, and people’s perceptions changed. As part of the reception in the country, the author was asked to broadcast his message nationally, as well as appear in an array of nationwide newspapers and news rooms. It was a tremendous success.
Passages from the Book
“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourselves” (Mowat, 24). After taking some time in the arctic studying the behavior of wolves, Farley notes that wolves are actually harmless creatures that feed on small rodents most of the time. They only prey on caribou only when it is necessary. This is one of their means of survival. There has to be a prey-predator relationship for a balanced ecosystem. However, his findings were that it was not because of the wolves that the caribou population was declining. It was a notion that the society has formed about the creatures that misguided their judgment. The wolf is doomed not due to its responsibility in the death of the caribou but because of the society’s uninformed decision. There is a notion that wolves are responsible for the reduction in the caribou population. The wolf is not a ruthless killer. This image that the society has of the wolves is a mirror reflection of how people view themselves and other participants in the society.
“Somewhere to the eastward a wolf howled; lightly, questioningly. I knew the voice, for I had heard it many times before. It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which once was ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had glimpsed and almost entered...only to be excluded, at the end, by my own self.” (Mowat, 162-163).
The wolves are gentle creatures that have family ties and move in packs. It is the nature of individuals to realize that they are not the villains they have portrayed them to be. They have ties to their packs and feel loss when one of them disappears. In this instance, one wolf was separated from the pack. It was not his intention, but he found himself away from the rest of the group. Howling for help indicates that the wolves have a system that works for them. They are in no way ruthless; on the contrary, they have been helpful and manage to work together for their survival. Farley heard the echo in a different perspective. To him, the sound was that of a creature speaking from an alien worked to which he had been relegated. It is only an individual who can stop himself from achieving greatness from the restrictions one places upon themselves in their mind. It is, therefore, vital that one not make decisions based on perception, but on the basis of facts.
“The wolf is a savage, powerful killer. It is one of the most feared and hated animals known to man and with excellent reason."(Mowat, 60).
According to individuals in society, the wolf is a savage killer, and a powerful one at that. Questioning the individuals who have this notion about the wolf, they have based their judgment on information gathered from all the wrong sources. It might be from stories and tales of the past, or from a misguided judgment of a neighbor. There is a notion in the society that wolves are savage killers. On the contrary, they are gentle creatures who prey on small rodents to ensure their survival. The premise that the wolf is a savage beast is wrong because Farley’s results indicate the contrary. They are gentle creatures who are not responsible for the decline in the number of caribou in the ecosystem. There is no evidence to either indicate the savage nature of the wolves, or their dangerous nature.
“I had made my decision that, from this hour onward, I would go open-minded into the lupine world and lean to see and know the wolves, not for what they were supposed to be, but for what they actually are.” (Mowat, 77).
Farley is the narrator of this story, ‘Never Cry Wolf’. He notes that he has come to a conclusion about the manner with which he makes his decisions. It is vital that one bases their judgment on facts rather than perception. In many instances, people make decisions and conclusions about a topic based on perception of the information they gather from other people. More often than not, these decisions are always biased. Farley made a resolution. It is necessary to be unbiased and make judgments based on facts rather than second hand information. Individuals should view wolves for the gentle creatures they are, rather than the villains they perceive them to be. All decisions should be based on facts.
“I'd heard some of the tales about the Arctic: the mad trappers, Diamond Tooth Gertie, The Ice-Worm Cocktail and all that. So, I was prepared for things to be a little weird.” (Mowat, 17).
Farley admits that he too, had heard tales of the arctic. When he was sent on his mission to find the connection between wolves and the declining caribou population, he was ready to encounter the weird creatures of the north. This is due to the stories that he had heard and read about the arctic. As he was to discover, creatures in that part are not as ruthless as the society portrays them. It was shocking to discover that the creatures were not as ruthless as portrayed in his society. It is vital to keep an open mind, and it is better not to have a perception about a given topic. If he had let his judgment crowd his mission, he would not have got the findings which he did in his expedition. It is vital not to have a perception about any given topic until one uses facts to make sound judgment. It is through questioning and research that one discovers the truth and makes the right decisions. One should base their decisions on facts, not perceptions.
In conclusion, the society had a perception about wolves that was contrary to reality. On spending time with the wolves and the caribou in the arctic region, he uncovered that wolves were gentle creatures that fed on small rodents, rather than the caribou. The declining caribou population was not a responsibility of the wolves. Farley urges the society to not have a perception about wolves, but rather base their judgment on facts. He discovered that the wolves are not nearly as vicious as the society portrays them.