Synopses & Reviews
Glutton, demon of destruction, symbol of slaughter, mightiest of wilderness villains… The wolverine comes marked with a reputation based on myth and fancy. Yet this enigmatic animal is more complex than the legends that surround it. With a shrinking wilderness and global warming, the future of the wolverine is uncertain. The Wolverine Way reveals the natural history of this species and the forces that threaten its future, engagingly told by Douglas Chadwick, who volunteered with the Glacier Wolverine Project. This five-year study in Glacier National Park – which involved dealing with blizzards, grizzlies, sheer mountain walls, and other daily challenges to survival – uncovered key missing information about the wolverine’s habitat, social structure and reproduction habits. Wolverines, according to Chadwick, are the land equivalent of polar bears in regard to the impacts of global warming. The plight of wolverines adds to the call for wildlife corridors that connect existing habitat that is proposed by the Freedom to Roam coalition.
“I have been fascinated by wolverines ever since I read about them as a child. The Wolverine Way is an astonishing account of these fearless, indefatigable
and highly intelligent animals and the equally fearless and indefatigable scientists and volunteers who study them. Chadwick’s writing transports us high into the frozen mountains and lakes of Glacier National Park with its dazzling beauty and treacherous storms and avalanches. This is a book full of adventure, courage and determination. Bravo to Patagonia for its support of the wolverines and the wildlife corridor which may prevent their extinction.” --Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
“Is there an animal that embodies the spirit of wildness more than the wolverine? Chadwick's account of these remarkable creatures and the people who study them expresses the environmental crossroads that the wolverine -- and all of us -- stand at. It should make every person stop and think about how much we would be losing should the wolverine not survive the many challenges it faces.” -- H. Emerson Blake, Editor-in-Chief, Orion Magazine
"The Wolverine Way" reveals the fascinating natural history of the wolverine, and the habitat threats that it faces.
About the Author
A wildlife biologist who studied mountain goats and grizzlies in the Rockies, Doug Chadwick began writing about natural history and conservation for national magazines. On assignments from Siberia to the Congo River’s headwaters, he has produced several hundred popular articles and ten books. He is also the vice chair of the board of Vital Ground, a nonprofit land trust that has helped safeguard more than 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Alaska, Canada, and the western US.
Table of Contents
Prologue. A chance encounter with an Alaskan miner who tangled with a wolverine leaves the adolescent author shaken, but asking himself who runs into wolverines anyway.1) A Personality of Unmeasured Force. Skip forward several decades: the book starts with a snarling wolverine caught in a live trap for research. Thus begins the author’s story of what may just be the toughest animal, pound-for-pound, in the world. The chapter fills in the basics: why wolverines and why now? 2) Yate the Indefatigable. This chapter continues the encounter with the wolverine in the first chapter. It also provides the background of the study and adds detail about the setting and the principal investigator Rick Yates. 3) Country Radio. Chapter 3 gives the reader a sense of a day in the life of a wolverine researcher as well as more information on the project as a whole. 4) Risks, Rewards and Southern Polar Bears. Global warming will have a dramatic effect on wolverines, whose population numbers and habitat range have already shrunk dramatically. This chapter pulls the reader into these critical challenges and the lack of solid information wildlife managers have on wolverines’ habitat needs. 5) Savage. A profile of volunteer veterinarian Dan Savage. A climber, avid vertical backcountry skier, and wilderness explorer, he embodies the kind of rugged individuality and determination that pervades the study team. 6) The Glutton. Background on the species' evolution, physiology and current management: all about wolverines now that we've met a few. 7) A Stranger’s Sojourn. Doug’s background and motivations leading into several lighter stories about fieldwork. 8) Good Mother Wolverine. Good mother wolverine… and good father: a discovery that parent wolverines are unique in their “shared custody” care of their young. 9) Kwi’kwa’ju. Wolverines and humans: first encounters, history of trapping, poisoning, predator eradication efforts, and US Population numbers. 10) Why We Go A-Wolverining. A silent ski and reflection after nine chapters of fieldwork and adventure. 11) Copeland and Socks. Copeland and the origins of research on the animals. 12) Growing Up Gulo: The Brothers. Tracking individual wolverines, two brothers, and their fate through field notes: an attempt to bring the reader into the field alongside the author. 13) Growing Up Gulo: The Sisters. The daily lives and fate of two young females, the younger sisters of the brothers of the previous chapter, born into this high, untamed mountain world the year before. 14) Wolverines From a Recliner. Captive wolverines and what they tell us about wild wolverines and the surprising capacities of this species. 15) Mr. Bad-Ass Himself. More detail on wolverines, but focused on the baddest-ass wolverine and the gentlest wild wolverine; a conclusion to the field research. 16) A Natural Selection of Ideas. What is threatening wolverines: management laws, and traditional ideas of parks and reserves. 17) Freedom to Roam. An essay on Freedom to Roam, and a good-bye to F4. Epilogue. Where are the people and the wolverines now.