From Publishers Weekly
Wildlife Conservation Society vice president Schaller (The Last Panda) presents 19 short pieces culled from the dozens of articles and books he has published during half a century spent observing animals around the world. The selections include studies of the daily lives of such exotic beasts as jaguars in Brazil; tigers in central India; lions, wildebeest and cheetahs in Tanzania's Serengeti Plain; giant pandas in China; snow leopards in Pakistan; and chiru (antelope) in the uplands of the Tibetan Plateau. Entwined with his descriptions of the animals are vivid pictures of his own life in the field—treks to remote places, camps established in tents and huts, hours perched in trees and other uncomfortable posts. Schaller began his career as a field biologist but, as these essays show, broadened his outlook over the years to become an outspoken advocate for wild animals and their habitats, helping to establish many wildlife conservation programs. He states in his introduction that as he looks back over his career, he finds today's conservation discourse lacking in heart, with people speaking of nature as "natural resources." His delightful book, imbued with his own unabashed sense of wonder before nature's beauties, is an antidote to this pragmatic trend. 75 b&w photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
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Schaller, field biologist and vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, guides readers through 50 years of fieldwork during the golden age of wildlife studies. He organizes his tales of adventure geographically, writing vividly of his unforgettable experiences in the Americas, Africa, South Asia, China, Mongolia, and the Tibetan plateau. In a time of sound bites, Schaller reminds us of the profound benefits of patient animal observation. No technology can replace a trained field biologist, and Schaller is at the top of his field in studies of barking deer and mice, a heron dubbed Siegfried, and prairie dogs in Tibet, not to mention mountain gorillas, tigers, and the thrilling discovery of new species. In this fond memoir, Schaller presents exciting animal lore that will inspire readers to learn more about these precious creatures. It is good to be reminded of what is beautiful in this world, and of our collective responsibility to ensure its continued existence. Pamela Crossland
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