Fourteen wolves by Catherine Barr and Jenni Desmond

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This beautifully illustrated non-fiction book begins with an introduction to Yellowstone National Park USA. A vast wilderness spanning 9000 kilometres, it is home to thousands of different wildlife species and is visited by four million people each year. However over nearly one hundred years ago wolves disappeared from the park through over-hunting and the natural balance of the ecosystem began to break down. Fourteen Wolves is the story of how scientists and conservationists in 1995 began the long project to turn the park back to its once pristine condition by rewilding fourteen wolves from Canada. The story is fascinating to read and while the size of the font is rather small it does not distract from the information as it is complemented by the stunning visual images. Part One tells the journey of the wolves from Canada and the cycle of life. Once the wolves are acclimatised and then released, they move in packs and their survival begins. Their prey are the elk which have grown in number and disrupted the ecosystem. The return of the wolves has now begun to balance the ecosystem. Part Two discusses the Rise of the Wolves beginning with an explanation of the food chain. The results of the wolves’ hunting provides the reader with an understanding of how important the key predator is in maintaining the natural balance for birds, animals, plants and landscapes. Part Three conveys an awareness of How Nature Works and is followed by information about rewilding and conservation.

While this book focuses on a particular place in the USA, it gives the reader a greater understanding of how important it is for humans to carefully consider the impact they have on the environment. This book is would be a perfect addition to a home, school or public library.

Themes: Rewilding, Wolves, Yellowstone National Park USA, Conservation, Environmental impacts, Ecosystems, Science, Life Cycles.

Kathryn Beilby