From Publishers Weekly
Biologist, Emmy Award-winning producer and TV host Corwin discusses polar and panda bears, Florida panthers and Bengal tigers, and other creatures in this valuable, far-reaching look at endangered species and global efforts to save them (published in conjunction with an MSNBC documentary). He begins with recollections of a trip to "the ice-locked village of Kaktovik, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle," where Corwin joins scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey studying polar bears, the first animals listed as endangered "due to climate change and the resulting shrinking of sea ice." Determined but far from didactic, Corwin hops the globe discussing a range of land and sea animals in immediate danger, but also the people who live among them and work for their preservation. He also highlights success stories: the California condor, for example, "teetered precariously at an estimated 22 birds in 1987," but intensive captive-breeding efforts have helped bring the population to more than 300. Proving that smart, concerted conservation can and does work, Corwin manages to dull the hopelessness and build a strong case for continuing efforts now and in the future. 16 pages of color photos.
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Corwin states that the only species capable of saving endangered animals is the one that got them into trouble in the first place—humans. The “100 heartbeats” of the title refers to just how scarce these animals are: each species with 100 or fewer living individuals. Animal Planet star Jeff Corwin looks at the critically endangered and examines what is being done to save them, beginning with a chapter that discusses the broad causes of extinction—global warming and the loss of habitat—and then examines specific threats to endangered species while looking at animals most at risk from these threats. The cats, both big and small, and the giant panda are poster species for habitat loss; Hawaiian honeycreepers and Puerto Rican crested toads suffer from the depredations of introduced alien species; California condors and Chinese alligators contend with pollution of their limited habitat; and illegal hunting and capture for the pet trade doom elephants and many primates. Corwin’s conversational, upbeat style makes readers care about the species in peril. --Nancy Bent