In 1697, Charles Perrault published a collection of eight folktales referred to as The Tales of Mother Goose. One of the folktales, Little Red Riding Hood, features a cunning wolf that deceives a young girl and then devours both she and her Grandmother. The centuries-old fairy tale remains a popular children's story to this day, establishing the mythical Big Bad Wolf as one of the most infamous villains ever written.
Grandmother, what big eyes you have!
All the better to see with, my child.
Grandmother, what big teeth you have got!
All the better to eat you up with.
And saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up.
Charles Perrault, 1697
For centuries, myths based in folklore have promoted the irrational fear that wolves are a threat to humans. On the contrary, wild wolves are wary of people and generally do everything possible to avoid them. Wolf attacks are exceedingly rare. Over the past century, there has NEVER been a documented case of a wild wolf killing a human being in the continental U.S. and there have been only two documented human fatalities in all of North America. The fatal attacks occurred in Alaska and Canada, which are home to 70,000 wolves. Since 1995, millions of people have visited Yellowstone National Park annually without incident. People are more likely to be injured by bison, bear, elk or moose in Yellowstone than wolves.
The fear and misrepresentation of wolves persists in contemporary times. Hollywood movies and TV almost universally portray wolves as savage beasts: snarling, blood-thirsty, and threatening to humans. In stereotypical fashion, vicious wolves are the bad guys who chase and attack the heroes of the story. After an intense, drama building scene, the audience breathes a sigh of relief as the heroes valiantly avert the danger, but the negative image of wolves remains etched in moviegoers' minds.
In real life, the wolf is not big and bad as storybooks claim nor the savage beast depicted in movies. The wolf is simply an animal who lives in the wild; a sentient being, like us, with a family of its own. They need our help to dispel the myths and set the record straight. Until then, the wolf will suffer the real life consequences of human propaganda directed against its kind. And that makes the wolf the actual victim of the story.
Dog attacks, drowning, hunting accidents, lightning strikes, bee stings, vehicle collisions, and even cows ALL pose a much greater threat to humans than wolves.
Steinhart explores the relationship between humans and wolves. He separates fact from myth and provides a balanced view even though he argues passionately for wolf preservation. 1995
A twist on the classic tale, the wolf helps a girl find her way home. 2019 (ages 3-8)
Amazing photography brings the Sawtooth Pack alive and captures the complex social hierarchy of wolves. Learn about the wolves as individuals and the heartwarming story of the Dutchers living with the wolves. 2013
Join wildlife documentarians in their study of wolves while living with them. 2016 (ages 6-9)
Stunning photographs accompany the Dutchers' story of living with the Sawtooth Pack. Learn firsthand about the social, family-oriented wolves and inner workings of their pack. 2005
Meet Kamots, Matsi and Lakota and watch them grow from cute pups to a devoted pack with the Dutchers. 2019 (ages 10-15)
A clever turn of the classic tale where pigs are the villains. 1993 (ages 3-8)
Alexander T. Wolf tells his side of the tale …! 1989 (ages 3-8)
The Dutchers’ fondly recount six years living with the Sawtooth Pack and the lessons learned as they gained the trust of three generations of wolves. 2018