Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild

Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0385482264

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


After forming an intense bond with Natasha, a wolf cub she raised as part of her undergraduate research, Renée Askins was inspired to found the Wolf Fund. As head of this grassroots organization, she made it her goal to restore wolves to Yellowstone National Park, where they had been eradicated by man over seventy years before. Here, Askins recounts her courageous fifteen-year campaign, wrangling along the way with Western ranchers and their political allies in Washington, enduring death threats, and surviving the anguish of illegal wolf slayings to ensure that her dream of restoring Yellowstone’s ecological balance would one day be realized. Told in powerful, first-person narrative, Shadow Mountain is the awe-inspiring story of her mission and her impassioned meditation on our connection to the wild.

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the area now defined as Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. But in the span of less than fifty years man had systematically, consciously, intentionally killed every wolf in the West, including those within park boundaries. The haunting question is—why? The scope of the killing, the method, the madness, leaves some of us troubled and shamed even today. Hundreds of thousands of wolves were killed—some in the name of protecting livestock, some for

ten to fifteen hours a week to get them under way while at Yale, if I went to Yale. I said I was planting a seed and didn’t know how fertile the soil would be, whether there would be sufficient rain to nurture it, or whether it would ultimately bear fruit. I just described my hope. I would have to wait to see whether any of the participants shared it. Once the dinner event was over I was still faced with the decision about going to Yale, but leaving wasn’t quite that simple. Even though I was

of the New York and D.C. political and philanthropic worlds. I learned how to lobby decision makers and prod conservation groups and became familiar with the terrain of foundations and the media. During that time I would meet many of the people who became guides and advisers to The Wolf Fund—George Schaller, Michael Bean, Ted Turner, Ted Williams, Robert Redford, and many more. I would also encounter William Penn Mott twice more at Yale events, each meeting leading to a personal conversation

staff was added, we moved a couple miles east to Mormon Row, where Clark and Vita Moulton, then in their eighties, rented us several cabins on the ranch that Clark’s daddy had homesteaded. It seemed right that we were sheltered and launched from the bosom of one of the first ranches in Jackson Hole, as our physical location always reminded us that the way to a solution must be derived from the people who had lived in the West their whole lifetimes rather than imposed by those who had not. Year

in any case. One lung had already collapsed due to the tumor’s pressure. I was given an all-or-nothing choice. I chose all. About an hour into the operation the surgeon came out to say it was going badly and that he doubted she would make it through. He offered a less than 5 percent chance that she would survive the surgery. I remember my refusal of the notion of her death in that way. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “She is a wild thing and she will not die on a stainless steel table

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