The intended audience of Never Cry Wolf, first published in 1963, is people who believe that wolves are creatures bent on killing. Mowat, a biologist, wrote this book after spending time observing wolves in far northern Canada, along the border between Nunavut and Manitoba. He was assigned by the Dominion Wildlife Service, part of the Canadian government, to figure out whether wolves were killing caribou and to encourage wolves to leave their dens so that they could be shot.
After observing the wolves, Mowat came to the conclusion that wolves only killed weak caribou and that this type of selective killing actually helped the caribou move more quickly in their migrations. Instead, he realized that the wolves subsisted mainly on smaller prey, such as hares and rodents, even when caribou were present. Mowat determined that humans were the main killers of wolves. In the end, he blamed the myth surrounding wolves--that they are "vicious and dangerous" (page 184) and the "pathological fear" (page vi) that humans have of wolves--for spreading the false idea that wolves killed caribou. This book, written for a wide selection of people who feared wolves but who wanted to know more about them, changed many people's opinions about the wolf and resulted in the growth of the Canadian environmental movement to stop human activities that resulted in killing wolves.