Thank You Farley Mowat For Changing The Way The World Sees Wolves


May 7, 2014

Farley Mowat is dead at age 92 and he will be sorely missed. He was iconic, an environmentalist and wolf advocate who changed the way wolves were perceived by the world. Never Cry Wolf, lives in my heart.

Thank you Farley for your kindness, your genius, your activism, and your caring spirit! The world won’t be the same without you!  May the wolves surround and protect you. HOWLS!

For the wolves, For Farley Mowat,



Farley Mowat, dead at 92, remembered for ‘enormous literary legacy’

By Allison Jones and Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:32PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:46PM EDT

TORONTO — Farley Mowat was fondly remembered Wednesday for captivating generations of schoolchildren with books such as “Owls in the Family” and “Never Cry Wolf,” and for his legacy as a tireless defender of the environment who “spoke for whales and seabirds, for tadpoles and mosses.”

“He was possessed of a ferocious talent, able to write stories that provoked laughter, tears and action,” Green Party leader Elizabeth May added in a statement after news broke of Mowat’s death at age 92. “We owe him more than I can say.”

Mowat died Tuesday night in his hometown of Port Hope, Ont., his assistant Mary Shaw-Rimmington told The Canadian Press.

The author was an “absolutely delightful person” who had “strong opinions that he would fight for to the death if he had to,” said friend Stephen Smith, who learned of the death from Mowat’s wife, Claire.

“A highly, highly principled man, extremely generous with his time and his wealth. Just a gem, a diamond in the rough,” he added. “I think we all felt that it was a real, real privilege to have them as friends, and they were truly good friends.”

There was no word on a cause of death, but Smith said a statement would be issued by the family.

“He hadn’t been very well, it had been a tough winter, but everybody had a tough winter in southern Ontario,” he said. “But it had been particularly tough for him. He wasn’t very well. He was quite old. He had various issues, as people in their 90s usually do.”

From the time he was 13, Mowat was fiercely dedicated to writing about the natural world. As a young teen he started a magazine called Nature Lore and had a column in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

He went on to write some 40 books, many based on his own adventures and travels. He said he was lucky to be able to combine his two passions: writing and nature, calling it “the only subject I really want to write about.”

“The literary legacy is enormous,” said Smith.

Throughout his life, Mowat was adamant that humans learn to live in harmony with the natural world.

“It’s a matter of survival,” he told The Canadian Press in a 2006 interview. “Either we learn to do this, or we cease to exist. We have no God-given right to survive forever. We have screwed up so badly in so many ways so obviously that only utterly stupid species would consider that we have much of a future, as things stand.”

“Never Cry Wolf,” is said to have changed the way people saw wolves; after the Russian version was published, the government there even banned the killings of one of Mowat’s favourite creatures.

But the book, which was based on Mowat’s own experiences studying wolves in the North — and became a film in 1983 — was not without controversy.

The May 1996 issue of now-defunct Saturday Night magazine featured an article by John Goddard titled “A Real Whopper,” accusing Mowat of exaggerating key facts in the book, such as how long he actually spent studying wolves in the North and if he visited an Inuit camp.

Mowat later issued a retort, saying Goddard “consistently misses the truth behind these ‘facts.”‘

Mowat was born in Belleville, Ont., on May 12, 1921. The son of a librarian, he grew up in Windsor, Ont., and Saskatoon. He studied at the University of Toronto. His novels and other non-fiction works have been translated into more than 20 languages.

For the past few decades, Mowat split his time between Cape Breton, N.S., and Port Hope, Ont., where a monument stands in his honour on Smith’s property. The structure is in the shape of a boat to represent Mowat’s 2000 book, “The Farfarers: Before the Norse.”

“It’s a local limestone,” said close friend John Shaw-Rimmington, the husband of Mowat’s assistant. “He wouldn’t have approved of shipping anything in that was non-green.”

Mowat lived a “very private” life in Port Hope and wrote his stories on an old-fashioned Underwood typewriter at his home there, he added.

“I was talking to him on Saturday and actually he was writing that morning,” said John Shaw-Rimmington. “Said he was a little frustrated because he’d only written a paragraph and he said, ‘Tomorrow I’ll look at that paragraph and probably not even use it.”‘

A remarkable storyteller, Mowat said the pleasure he got from writing was paramount.

“My motives have been selfish in a peculiar way,” he said, “not to attempt to gain recognition, fame, to become an icon, to become a Conrad Black or somebody like that, but simply to satisfy my own appetite for good stories.”

Never one to shy away from controversy, Mowat was outspoken about many environmental and social issues.

He called Canada’s treatment of aboriginals “abominable,” said the seal hunt was, “perhaps the most atrocious single trespass by human beings against the living world that’s taking place today,” and said hunts in general were “symbolic of the massive destruction that we’ve visited upon life.”

Although Mowat felt the struggle to preserve nature and wildlife was an ongoing one, he said: “I could honestly say I’ve fought the good fight.”

He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal in 1956, the Governor General’s Award for his 1956 children’s story “Lost in the Barrens,” the Leacock Medal for Humour for “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float” in 1970, the Order of Canada in 1981 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2003. He was also inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

“Every book is a total experience in itself,” he said. “It’s a world in itself and when you finish the book you’re moving on to another world.”

Tributes to Mowat began to pour in as soon as word of his death broke.

In Ottawa, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the author was “a family friend” from childhood.

“He came up to Harrington Lake a few times …. ah, got along great with my father,” said Trudeau. “He gave us a Labrador retriever who we called Farley who had a penchant for running after porcupines as I remember.”

He added: “Mr. Mowat obviously was a passionate Canadian who shaped a lot of my generation growing up with his books and he will be sorely missed.”

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair tweeted: “We have lost a great Canadian today. Farley Mowat’s work as an author and environmentalist has had a great impact on Canada and the world.”

Acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood tweeted that Mowat was a “wonderful colleague & friend of many years,” while writer Andrew Pyper added: “Owls in the Family. One of the first books I aspired to copy. Farley Mowat, R.I.P


Photos: Wikimedia and Wikipedia Commons

Posted in: Environmental Icons, gray wolves

Tags: Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf, Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, environmental icon





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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. RIP, Farley Mowat.


  2. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  3. He will be missed! Hopefully some people will strive to fill his undoubtable huge boots.


  4. Thank you Mr. Mowat. You fought hard for our animals ❤
    The wolves howled in Joy as you crossed the Bridge.


  5. He changed ME 🙂


  6. Farley Mowatt was one of my favourite authors and I am saddened by his passing. Rest in peace.


  7. I knew Farley very well when back home in Canada and when I saw this post come through my heart just sunk -:( Not only did he educate many about wolves, he wrote the most amazing book on Dian Fossey – well he used all her words taken from her notes and diaries – it is called WOMAN IN THE MIST and when you read it, you hear and feel all the emotions Dian felt during her years with the mountain gorilla’s. He and I slowly lost touch when I moved away from Canada but his friendship is one that I treasured ….. he was a great support to my work…….

    RIP Farley, thank you for the years you gave to the animals, and us !


  8. Thank you for posting this.


  9. I know the wolf brothers who went before him met Farley as he crossed over and rejoiced that he had come to run with them as I hope they will welcome me when my time to join them comes. I can imagine no greater heaven than to be free to roam and run. RIP!!!


  10. Farley also lived in Burgeo (bur-goo) Newfoundland.
    He and his wife left, due to the local gun-toy people who, after discovering a huge Fin Whale stranded by the tide in a lagoon, used it for “recreational” shooting. They would stop by to shoot at it for a week or more, and the bullets became infected. Also these locals purposely ran into it with outboard propellers, further abusing and giving it pain.

    Yes, it died, rather than being rescued or helped to survive until the next spring tide (They are two weeks apart, at full and new moons).
    Farley was outraged, and swore he would write a book on it.
    That book is “A Whale For The Killing”, and affords what insight that can be had into the minds of people who shoot for “sport.”

    The Mowats were no longer welcomed by the locals after their disagreement over the torture and murder, and thus left.

    Newfoundland as you may know has a great number of people who clubbed infant seals, and their way of approach to the matter of gaining wealth, with its sociopathic ignoring of any respect for life whatsoever, will be instructive of modern armed man.
    Just a san aside: In the 1700s, the US Mississippi River valley was occupied by many traders (St. Louis was a large city of its time), and the lust for trading for white man industrial goods – rifles, metal, etc. – was such that this kill wildly for trade thing infected the Indian tribes – Comanches, Pawnee, etc. – with a like loss of reverence for other life. Had it not been for repeated smallpox epidemics, the bison was headed for extinction in the southern part of its range by 1789. I mention this to help you understand how commerce and greed is a highly infectious disease. So the evils you see against the Wolf in Idaho and elsewhere are related to this overdomestication of all living things for commerce.
    Such a mindset cannot be changed within the individuals so infected.
    Newfoundland sealers are still like their forebears who inflicted pain, suffering and agonising death.
    Only steadfast focus on the tragedy and suffering will help lead the young to abandon the evils of their parents – and even this is not effective for many.
    Farley owat was one who spoke of the value of compassion, living it and feeling it himself.
    THank you for mentioning his work and putting him here, Nabecki. The way is slow, yet this is the way.


    • Thank you for the beautiful prose re Mr Mowat, who was my first introduction to wolves back in the 70’s. As a generation we were mesmerized by his words and knowledge. I appreciated your raw summation of all the killing by humans of of the other beings we share the earth for commerce and fun. it was stark and true. I know Farley Mowat dedicated his life to a different reality and I follow his lead and know others do as well.
      Thank you for your profile and Mr Mowat thank you for all you have done. We will all try to fill his mighty shoes. I hope he is with all his beloved canis lupus in heaven.


  11. I loved his book, Never Cry Wolf. Here’s more on Farley Mowat:


    • Thank you Jim, he was truly an amazing and wonderful man. Never Cry Wolf changed me in so many ways.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  12. Farley McGill Mowat

    May / 12 / 1921 – May / 6 / 2014

    May He Rest In Peace


  13. The world loses a good man.


  14. RIP, Farley Mowat. He started me down the road to wildlife activism when I read Never Cry Wolf and A Whale for the Killing as a teenager. I was privileged to meet Farley in 1974 in Ontario when I was traveling and lecturing about wolves with John Harris and Rocky the wolf. Our little motley crew visited Farley’s house and he autographed my copy of Never Cry Wolf. He was very friendly and I will never forget him.


  15. I read this book years and years ago and never forgot the content. Loved his other books also, BUT, The Wolf has a special place.


  16. […] Thank You Farley Mowat For Changing The Way The World Sees Wolves […]


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