Wolves in Russia

Anxiety Through the Ages

Published, May 10, 2007 (see order information below)

a book by

Will Graves

Edited by Dr.Valerius Geist, Ph.D.

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Wolves in Russia unmasks the Disneyesque view of wolves propagandized in the U.S.  Wolves is a stunning, fact-laden account of pandemic and devastating loss of livestock, game animals and human beings from wolf predation.  Any open-minded person who reads this book will grasp that wolves are a severe threat to our way of life in Montana, and to the people who live here.  It is impossible to deny the centuries of recorded wolf predation impact documented in Wolves in Russia.  A Russian proverb from the book:  "Wolves are not killed because they are gray, but because they eat sheep."
Gary Marbut, president, Montana Shooting Sports Association

Now published - ORDER HERE

To order a copy of Wolves in Russia, mail a check payable to Will Graves in the amount of $13.00 ($10.00 book price plus $3.00 shipping and handling) (Maryland residents add $1.00 for state sales tax) to:

Will Graves
900 Hillen Dr.
Millersville, MD 21108

If a proper mailing address is not on your envelope or check, please include with your order the address to which you want your book mailed.

Please allow two to three weeks between receipt of your order to receiving your book as Will works through the transition from becoming an author to being a bookseller.

Online ordering with credit card will happen eventually, but not soon.  Order by mail is recommended.

An email sent to the email list of the Montana Shooting Sports Association on 03/02/2007:

Dear MSSA Friends,

I have just reviewed s soon-to-be-published book titled Wolves in Russia.  This book has been researched and written by Will Graves, a career linguist.  As a U.S. translator, Will went to Russia with a great curiosity about historic wolf impact there.  Over many years, Will gathered and translated many Russian records about wolves and their impact on livestock, game and people.

Yes, people.  There are scores of documented instances where wolves have killed and eaten people.  For over two centuries, Russians have kept records of wolf impact, including killing hundreds of people every year, maybe thousands in some bad years.

Here's one tidbit from the book.  The Central Administration of Hunting in Kazakhstan records that in 1986 there were 300 teams of professional wolf hunters totalling 1104 hunters culling wolves in Kazakhstan.  Notwithstanding this effort, it is reported that "Their combined effort was insufficient to hold back the increase in wolf numbers."  The following year, 1987, there were 150,000 domestic livestock (mostly sheep, horses, and cattle, but including some pigs, camels, asses, etc.) in Kazakhstan lost to wolves.  The year after, 1988, 200,000 domestic livestock were killed by wolves.

I have written Will a dust jacket comment for Wolves of Russia.  Here's what I said:

Wolves in Russia unmasks the Disneyesque view of wolves propagandized in the U.S.  Wolves is a stunning, fact-laden account of pandemic and devastating loss of livestock, game animals and human beings from wolf predation.  Any open-minded person who reads this book will grasp that wolves are a severe threat to our way of life in Montana, and to the people who live here.  It is impossible to deny the centuries of recorded wolf predation impact documented in Wolves in Russia.  A Russian proverb from the book:  "Wolves are not killed because they are gray, but because they eat sheep."

I'll let you know when Wolves is published and becomes available.

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana


"This amazing book presents for the first time,in detail, the facts on Russia's huge wolf problem."

                        Jim Rearden, Ph.D. former Head of the Wildlife Department at the University of Fairbanks, and author of  "The Wolves of Alaska."

"Wolves in Russia is a must read for wolf advocates, ranchers, college professors, government agents, and those who will be camping in wolf territory.  Will Graves' book balanced investigation provides rare honesty and sanity in this groundbreaking and illuminating collection of Russian wolf science, documented predation on humans and livestock, and stories from Russian literature."

                        Barney Nelson, Ph.D, Environmental Editor for Range Magazine and author of the Wild and the Domestic: Animal Representation,                    Ecocriticism, and Western American Literature.

"Wolves will definitely be the debate for the next decade.  Will Graves' book sets the record straight for the next century.  A must read!"

                        Jim Slinsky, host of Outdoor Talk Network.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Graves for Wolves in Russia - a work that combines a realistic outlook and an understanding based on years of research and travel.  This information from Russia in an antidote to certain American, environmental delusions."

                        Jim Beers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Biologist.

"This book must be read by every serious wildlife biologist, resource decision maker and park manager, as well as the recreation-minded, for it clearly shows that co-existence between man and animal has limits that can never be forgotten."
                      James A. Swan, Ph.D., from Not-so-cuddly canines

"When humans are unable or unwilling to defend themselves, wolves attack.  That's the conclusion you'll find in [Wolves in Russia]."  "[Wolves in Russia] challenges North American notions about the true nature of these controversial animals, striving to show that populations are best controlled by human intervention."  From a review by Agri-News.

Range Magazine, in its Winter 2008 edition published an article about Wolves in Russia entitled "Anxiety Through the Ages."  In the opening subtitle, Range says, "In his new book 'Wolves in Russia,' Will N. Graves chronicles the reasons wolves are feared by the people who must live with them."  Barney Nelson, Ph.D., says in introduction to the Range article, " 'Wolves in Russia' is a must-read book for wolf advocates, ranchers, college professors, government agencies, and those who might be camping in wolf territory.  Will Graves' balanced investigation provides rare honesty and sanity in a groundbreaking and illuminating collection of Russian wolf science and documented predation on humans and livestock.  The book paints a vivid picture of government suppression of information; it documents the effect of an unarmed population on wolf behavior; and it points to cycles of terror and starvation that correspond to wolf population explosions."


Article - The Wolf and Spread of Disease


Preface to, Wolves in Russia
Will Graves

My first real job started in 1950 working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry in Mexico.  I had the unique experience to work for the American-Mexican Commission to Eradicate the Foot and Mouth Disease (CAMPEFA).  I became the Chief of a Livestock Inspecting/vaccinating Brigade in a horseback only area in a tropical rain forest with headquarters in District IX, Area C, Sector 26 near the village of Cozolapa, Oaxaca.  CAMPEFA was formed to prevent the spread of the foot and mouth disease (fmd) from Mexico into the U.S. as over 15,000,000 head of Mexican cattle had been infected.  Resistance to CAMPEFA was fierce in some areas of rural Mexico.  One US agriculture magazine reported that 157 CAMPEFA workers were killed during the eradication program. 

 My brigade would constantly travel throughout my sector by horseback inspecting and vaccinating all cloven footed domestic livestock to prevent them from catching this dreaded disease.  My brigade consisted of my Mexican Counter-partner, various numbers of cowboys, and a few Mexican Calvary Troops. Huge Brahma bulls would run from the cowboys, until lassoed; then they would charge the cowboys. To help, I kept out of the way until I could vaccinate the bull.  If we found the fmd, I had the authority to quarantine the area, halt all movement of cattle, and a veterinarian would be called in to supervise the slaughter of all cattle in a designated area.  Fortunately, there were no active cases of fmd in my sector while I was there.  Sometimes there were 25 to 35 horses and mules in my brigade. 

The fmd is a highly contagious viral disease that has a broad host range of cloven footed animals.  If one animal in a herd of 1000 catches the disease, within 24 hours every animal in the herd can be infected.  It is considered the most costly of all animal diseases.  It is often necessary to conduct a wholesale slaughter of animals whenever there is an outbreak.  In 1924 there was an outbreak of the fmd in California.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the probable mode of infection of some cattle was dogs.  In 2001 there was a major outbreak of fmd in England and approximately 8 million head of cattle were slaughtered.

When working for CAMPEFA, I was absolutely and thoroughly committed to stamping out the fmd.  An American veterinarian told me that one reason the fmd was so difficult to stamp out in Mexico was that dogs and coyotes were possibly spreading the disease.  This statement was etched into my mind and had a profound effect on my future interest in livestock and diseases.

The outbreak of the Korean war brought an abrupt end to my work in CAMPEFA.  I was a bachelor and was called to duty to serve my country.  I volunteered for the U.S. Air Force, and was selected to be trained as a Russian linguist at Syracuse University. As soon as I learned the Russian alphabet, I learned the Russian words for fmd, anthrax and rabies.  I knew these words before I knew the words for cow, sheep, goat or pig.  Perhaps you can imagine some of the good laughs my Russian teachers had about this.

In order to accelerate and develop my skills in Russian I started to read Russian wildlife magazines and books extensively. Wolves were often discussed and soon my interest became focused on wolves in Russia and the USSR.  I asked every native Russian I met if they had any knowledge of wolves.  I began to record data and sources on 3 by 5 cards.  I especially watched for reports that wolves can and have carried the fmd and other diseases and parasites around Russia and the USSR.  My interest in wolves grew into a serious hobby.

 All my reading or discussions about wolves was in Russian until I started in 1965 to read American literature about wolves.  I became intrigued by the differences in reported wolf behavior in Russia and the reported behavior of wolves in the U.S.  Why all the differences?

The following are some areas of my research on Russian wolf activity which I found to be especially interesting and different from much Western writings.  My research about the characteristics, habits, and behavior or Russian wolves generally indicated the following. Human fear of wolves is deep and is based on documented facts and events; it is not based on myths, fables, and old wives tales.  The population of wolves depends on humans and not on epizootic diseases.  Wolves kill many healthy and fit game animals and not just weak and diseased ones.  Wolves sometimes engage in killing more animals than they need for food.  This characteristic is called surplus killing.  The questions are when and why? When wolf numbers are high, they can begin to carry and spread to other animals damaging and dangerous parasites and diseases.  When wolf numbers are high, they can drastically affect the dynamics of wild game populations. Wolves are not always afraid of humans, if wolves show signs of habituation, exploring around humans, and challenging humans – then they may attack humans.

In November 1993 I took the opportunity to comment by letter on the Draft Environmental Impact Study about re-introducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park. 

I wrote that in my opinion, more research was needed on the potential negative impact wolves would have on bringing and spreading parasites and diseases into the park.  There are numerous Russian writings how wide ranging wolves carry and spread many types of dangerous parasites and diseases - including taenia hydatigena, brucellosis, deer-fly-fever, listerosis, anthrax, rabies and reported to carry fmd and others.  Wolves in Russia are reported to carry over 50 types of parasites, including echinococci, cysticercocci, coeruni (all of which can attach humans) and the trichinellidae family.  Russian wolves are reported to create, spread, and maintain "hot spots" of disease.  Russians report that parasites are the invasion route of diseases to other animals.  The parasites which wolves carry to wild animals, may then be passed on to domestic animals and then pets may pass them to humans.  I believe more research needs to be done about the fact that wolves may cause serious harm by spreading dangerous parasites and diseases over large areas.

I believe that wolves have a legitimate role and place in the ecosystem.  I support that their numbers be carefully managed as result of scientific research on their impact on given areas. 

After all my years researching Russian wolf behavior, I conclude that as a general rule, many Western writers and supporters of wolves often over emphasize the positive role of the wolf in nature, and tend to ignore or overlook the negative aspects of wolves in nature.  I hope readers of English will read my book and begin to look at the many differences in wolf behavior being reported in Russian and North American wolves.

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