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Hunt for the Shadow Wolf

Hunt for the Shadow Wolf

Hunt for the Shadow Wolf

The lost history of wolves in Britain and the myths and stories that surround them

Derek Gow



'Gow reinvents what it means to be a guardian of the countryside.' Guardian
'The radical rewilder.' The Times


Renowned conservationist Derek Gow has a dream: that one day we will see the return of the wolf to Britain. Wolf rewilding projects have been successfully completed across the world – so what is holding us back in the UK? Is it an ancient and misplaced fear of apex predators on our shores that is stopping us?


Hunt for the Shadow Wolf is Derek’s quest to uncover the true nature of this magnificent creature. He began researching stories of the wolf, piecing together fragments of history, myths and artifacts to reveal a shadowy creature that first walked proud through these lands, but was hunted to extinction as coexistence turned to hatred, fear – and domination.


Derek examines the underlying motives behind this fervour, discovering that the reasons were sadly prosaic and, like most persecutions, driven by power and profit. He reveals how we turned the wolf into a savage beast and painted its extermination as a ‘civilising mission.’ But the wolf survived far longer than many thought, and Derek shares historical sightings of the wolf through folklore and mythology, the records of grand estates and parish churches as well as wolf heads, both real and recreated.


As we look to heal our landscapes, Derek makes clear why we must reconcile our relationship with the wolf and fully understand our shared history before we can begin to bring it back to these lands.


About Derek Gow

Derek Gow is a farmer, nature conservationist and the author of Birds, Beasts and Bedlam and Bringing Back the Beaver. Born in Dundee in 1965, he left school when he was 17 and worked in agriculture for five years. Inspired by the writing of Gerald Durrell, he jumped at the chance to manage a European wildlife park in central Scotland in the late 1990s before moving on to develop two nature centres in England. He now lives with his children, Maysie and Kyle, on a 300-acre farm on the Devon/Cornwall border, which he is in the process of rewilding. Derek has played a significant role in the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver, the water vole and the white stork in England. He is currently working on a reintroduction project for the wildcat.

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