Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Policy and Practice

Politics, Blood, & the Gray Wolf

David Cassuto

Between Kathleen and me, we’ve taken up a lot of blawgwidth over at the Animal Blawg on the battle to delist the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies and the ultimately successful attempt to make the delisting a part of the budget agreement.  Yet, there’s so much more to be said.  Here’s my bid to bring it into the mainstream media.


  1. Book, article about wolves may contribute to dialogue –

    The Wolf’s Tooth January, 2011

    I must tell you about a book I just read. I think it should be read by every member of Congress who is considering wolf-related legislation, and every manager of wildlife, both terrestrial and aquatic. The book is Cristina Eisenberg’s The Wolf’s Tooth.

    Recently, a brief interpretive note I wrote, “What good are wolves?” was published on New West.  You can view my note on .  By chance, author Cristina Eisenberg is on the advisory board of Living With Wolves  So am I.  When she saw my note, she saw that she and I were writing about some of the same research, so she sent me a copy of The Wolf’s Tooth.

    The book is a stunning revelation of the keystone role of predators such as wolves in maintaining healthy ecosystems.  It is soundly based in recent decades of research that has been conducted in aquatic and terrestrial systems, leading to such concepts as trophic cascades.  Author Eisenberg conducted some of that research herself, including in Glacier National Park.  She takes the reader through recent discoveries of ecological relationships between top predators and other components of the systems studied, including sea otter/sea urchin/kelp systems in the northern Pacific, shark/cod/crab/ linkages in Chesapeake Bay, parrot fish/coral relations, temperate rainforest/spotted owl, and, most of all, wolf/elk/willow/songbird systems.  In brief, top predators are demonstrated to be essential to all those biomes.  The book tells the story of the development of the concepts by numerous investigators, like a detective novel, but it is all true.  Much of the information about wolves has become available because wolves have been restored to the northern Rocky Mountains of the U.S., including Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, and in Banff National Park, Alberta.

    You can get a look at the book by logging onto  The Publicity Manager for Island Press is Jaime Jennings,  Her telephone number in Washington, D.C. is (202) 232-7933 x 44.

    If you can’t get around to reading The Wolf’s Tooth, at least go to, and read those brief pages. They will give you a hint of what you will also find in The Wolf’s Tooth.

    Norman A. Bishop
    4898 Itana Circle
    Bozeman, MT 59715-9391

  2. The wolf is such a beautiful part of the amazing wildlife in our country. I understand the opposition but am an activist for these animals.

  3. Ah, the wolves. Such majestic creatures. What would Waldron say? The early naturalist would most likely agree with the posts above. Endangered species only make it to the list for one obvious reason. A sound reason that has not changes…

  4. such beautiful animals are endangered.

  5. A lot of good information, I like it. 🙂

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