In this essay, originally published in an anthology titled “Writing for Animals” (Ashland Creek Press, 2018), author Paula MacKay explores how writers can use their craft to cultivate empathy for wild predators and promote compassion on their behalf. She examines how several notable authors employ literary devices to make scientific knowledge about predators more palatable and persuasive to readers.
We use highways to go places. Other animals use wildways. If your family wants to travel from Florida to Maine, say, or California to Washington—perhaps to escape summer heat—you can easily drive the distance on I-95 or I-5. A comparable journey would not be so effortless for a cougar or a wolf in search of a new homeland. To travel long distances, wide-ranging species like cougars, wolves, bison, songbirds, and salmon need protected webs of continuous habitats—or wildways.