The Wisdom of Wolves

Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack
By Jim and Jamie Dutcher
Reviewed by Susan Tasaki, April 2018, Updated June 2021

Over a period of six years, Jim and Jamie Dutcher spent countless hours in intimate contact with three generations of a North American gray wolf pack. During this time, they handsomely documented the wolves’ lives to an impressively detailed level. In their new book, they focus on wolves’ many virtues, and reflect on values shared by both animals and humans.

While their work is both intriguing and beautiful, it is somewhat concerning that the wolves in this pack—which was started in 1990 with captive pups in an enclosed “wolf observation camp” by Jim Dutcher—have not and never will live truly wild. Moved to a new location following the end of the couple’s work in 1996, the pack is now owned by a Dutcher-founded nonprofit in conjunction with the Nez Perce tribe.

Those who read The Wisdom of Wolves will have a greater understanding of these charismatic animals (who share an ancestor with our domestic dogs), and, it is hoped, will be inspired to become active stewards of the wild world.

Susan Tasaki, a freelance editor and writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.