Never Cry Wolf is a book by Canadian author Farley Mowat, first published in 1963 by McClelland and Stewart. It was adapted into a moderately successful movie of the same name in 1983. It has been credited for dramatically changing the public image of the animal to a more positive one. It is presented as a first-person narrative of Mowat's research into the nature of the Arctic Wolf; however, there is some debate over how much of the book is indeed factual.
Mowat’s book became a popular hit in the Russian SFSR. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union took advantage of the book's message that wolves were harmless mouse-eaters and prohibited all reports of wolves attacking, injuring or eating humans, keeping such records secret. It was revealed by biologist Mikhail P. Pavlov after the fall of the Soviet Union, that this was done in order to effectively confiscate firearms from rural citizens without any resistance, as it was not in the Communist Party's interest to have an armed citizenry. The book also had the added effect of decreasing the popularity of Russian wolf management in the 1960-70's.
In a 2001 article of The Canadian Historical Review entitled Never Cry Wolf: Science, Sentiment, and the Literary Rehabilitation of Canis Lupus, Karen Jones lauded the work as "an important chapter in the history of Canadian environmentalism";
In the May, 1996 issue of Saturday Night, John Goddard wrote a heavily researched article entitled "A Real Whopper", in which he poked many holes in Mowat's claim that the book was non-fictional. He wrote
Mowat denied Goddard's criticisms but did not refute the specific accusation. Although Goddard was criticised for sloppy journalism by Val Ross in The Globe and Mail, specific rebuttals against his comments regarding Never Cry Wolf were absent.
Ethologist Dr. Valerius Geist of the University of Calgary Alberta, who had himself experienced aggressive behaviour from wolves in his home on Vancouver Island and was heavily involved in investigating the Kenton Joel Carnegie case, called Mowat's book "..a brilliant, literary prank..".
L. David Mech, an internationally recognized wolf expert who has researched wolves since 1958 in places such as Minnesota, Canada, Italy, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and on Isle Royale, stated that Mowat is no scientist and that in all his studies, he had never encountered a wolf pack which primarily subsisted on small prey as shown in Mowat's book. In his 1970 publication The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species he wrote;
Linguist and former veterinary biologist Will Graves, who spent 42 years reading and compiling information on wolves in Russia from news reports, scientific articles, and interviews with Russian biologists, game managers and hunters flatly stated in an interview with journalist Peter Metcalf "His [Mowat's] book is fiction". In his book Wolves in Russia: Anxiety throughout the ages, Graves expressed similair views to those of David Mech, citing numerous cases in the former Soviet Union indicating that wolves feed heavily on medium sized ungulates, contrary to what Mowat wrote.