Green Fire by Earle Layser

This is a book for biophiles, people who love wild animals. It is an eclectic collection of thirteen original multilayered stories with interrelated themes-stories within stories-about grizzly bear, cougar, wolf, wolverine, bison, wild sheep, pika, and others. Centering on the Greater Yellowstone region and the Northern Rockies, they incorporate current issues, attitudes, conservation, science, history, natural history, and folklore, and range from whimsical to the informed scientific.

Interwoven into each essay are unusual and little known facts and facets about the animal and its history. All the stories convey the value and need for conservation and the importance of protecting and restoring not just the species themselves, but entire ecosystems and wildland habitats. Metaphorically, Green Fire refers to a flame that burns within wild creatures, a life force. Its glow reflects in the indomitable and resilient spirit of untamed nature and equates to the past vitality and abundance of once wild America.

The heroes in this book are the wild animals: the last plains bison, which near the end carried bullets embedded in their bodies from gun shots they had survived; the last wolves in the early twentieth century, who had missing toes, paws, teeth, and tails from having escaped leg hold traps, survived being shot, or had escaped death by disgorging poisons, but continued to elude their pursuers; the small bands of bighorn sheep that survived relentless year-round hunting by retreating to live in the most remote, inaccessible, and inhospitable crags; and the resilient beaver, that were once hunted and trapped to near extinction that have repopulated former habitats throughout the Rockies.

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