The Pipestone Wolves

ISBN 9781771606936
Softcover | Publication Date: April 16, 2024
224 Pages

About the Book

Now available in paperback, this compelling book is full of behavioural insights and wolf tales that will engage those interested in the state of wild wolves throughout North America.

In the winter of 2008–09, a new wolf family from the Pipestone Valley suddenly appeared in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park, taking up residence alongside a family that had ruled there for over a decade. Within a year, these new wolves had eliminated the Bow Valley wolves and established a dominance that would last for five years in the heart of Canada’s most famous national park.

The book chronicles not only the rise of the Pipestones and how they established and maintained dominance in the valley, but also how an increase in mass tourism in Banff led to a decrease in prey density for the Pipestones, which in turn led to the wolves changing their hunting strategies and expanding their summer range. Bloch explains how the Pipestones faced an inevitable fall from the top as pressure from eager wolf watchers increased exponentially in the park at the same time the wolves’ prey base was shrinking rapidly. Combining these influences with other factors like rail mortality and old age, Bloch and Marriott knew the end was near for the Pipestones.

The authors conclude with insights into how wolf and wildlife management in Banff National Park can improve. They outline steps Parks Canada should be taking to deal with the human management problems that are really at the core of the wildlife issues in the park. They also discuss whether we can continue to maintain a balance between ecological integrity and mass tourism in Canada’s flagship park and whether it is already too late. Have we passed the point of no return? And will our Banff wolves live forever after in a wildlife ghetto devoid of true wilderness characteristics?

About the Author(s)

Günther Bloch has observed wild wolves in Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and North America. He is the author of six international bestselling books and several hundred magazine articles on wolf and dog behaviour. He has been the owner of the Canid Behaviour Center, a research facility in Germany, since 1977. In 1999 he founded the International Symposium on Canids, where scientists from around the world share the latest research findings on canid behaviour every three years. Günther first came to Canada to watch wolves in 1986. He did den-site observational research in 1993 in the Northwest Territories and studied wolf behaviour in the Bow River Valley of Banff National Park for Parks Canada from 1992–2003. He continued observing Bow Valley wolf behaviour independently from 2003–2014. Günther lives on an acreage on the south side of the Porcupine Hills in Alberta with his wife, Karin, and dogs Timber and Raissa.

Reviews

The Pipestone Wolves draws readers into a world that very few people have seen. After reading this book and seeing Marriott’s stunning photography, I came to appreciate these elusive creatures, and also came to terms with an unavoidable truth: that we all bear responsibility for the wolves’ tragic fate.” –Scott Lilwall, Crowfoot Media

“Bloch and Marriott convinced this reader that wolf conservation in Bow Valley must be given a higher priority. Bloch’s detailed descriptions of wolf behavior, and Marriott’s exceptional photographs of the Pipestone wolves make a compelling case that these magnificent animals deserve greater attention and conservation effort. Bloch convincingly argues that animal behavior must play a much larger role in management decisions. His observations lead him to conclude that “there is no such thing as uniform wolf behavior.” ” –John Miles, National Parks Traveller