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No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1559639859
ISBN-10: 1559639857
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Editorial Reviews


"Absorbing and thought provoking, No Way Home deserves to be widely read and used to promote conservation action. It illustrates the importance of science for deepening our appreciation of animal migrations and for guiding our efforts to preserve them."

"[David] Wilcove's account is compelling. He paints a colorful picture of migration, supplying readers with many anecdotes about his encounters with various species on the move and the scientists who study them."
(American Scientist)

"Startling and imaginative new wildlife book. . .Wilcove writes with a sense of drama, passion and awe for the incredible treks many animals make."
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Skillfully balancing breadth and depth, Wilcove has written a fascinating and authoritative work. . ."
(Library Journal)

"No Way Home offers entrancing accounts of some of the world's iconic migrants of the sky, land, and sea while underscoring the obstacles they face in their travels."

"No Way Home presents numerous examples of migratory species that seem to be heading down the same dead end path as Martha's brethren, but this is no doom and gloom tome...Rather, Wilcove...offers a seamless blend of research and personal experience that presents the history of migration, the problems facing species that migrate, and examples of programs that have had success in reviving declining populations."
(Foreword Magazine)

". . .Wilcove's detailed descriptions of migrations of locusts, damselflies, quetzals, pronghorns, and many other species are convincing evidence that these awe-inspiring phenomena are worth saving."

"This is an excellent and very important book. . . Wilcove gently provides a thorough lesson in the dynamics of migration. The prose is lively and filled with meaningful anecdotes; it's a well-crafted narrative that reads effortlessly. . ."
(Winter Reading with Naturalist Mark Garland on WAMU-FM)

"[Wilcove] gives us not only a vivid and colorful description of the journey but inspects the marvel and intricacies of one of nature's phenomena."
(Charleston Post and Courier)

"Animal migration has been inspiring humans for millennia, but the grandest migrations are under increasing threat from human activity. David Wilcove explores the fragile balance between migrating species and the resources they need. The result is not only a fascinating account of these amazing journeys, but also an urgent call to preserve the varied habitats on which migrants depend."
(David Sibley author of The Sibley Guide to Birds)

"In this important and exceptionally well written book, a leading wildlife biologist shows how human activity is not just erasing species and ecosystems but also cutting the ancient natural highways that make possible Earth's greatest wildlife spectacles."
(E. O. Wilson University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University)

"No Way Home is a captivating narrative...Wilcove's writing is an effective combination of anecdotes and hard facts...Reading this book will help us all see why a top priority is to protect the remaining migratory species and their ways home. I recommend it highly for students of conservation and restoration, as well as the broader public."
(Ecological Restoration)

"With no conscious effort, one emerges with the impression of having become expansively informed about the natural history of migrations, the research that has defined them, and the solutions necessary to conserve them."

"While many conservation biologists have observed the decline of individual migrations, Wilcove's book combines them into an alarming synthesis."
(The New York Times)

About the Author

David S. Wilcove is the author of The Condor’s Shadow: The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America (Freeman, 1999), and numerous scientific and popular articles on wildlife conservation. One of the world’s leading experts on endangered species, he is Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559639857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559639859
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,538,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Erica Fleishman on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever wished that your favorite nature article in National Geographic would go on for longer, No Way Home is the book for you. David Wilcove, one of the most respected conservation biologists in North America, vividly describes wildlife migrations from oceans to the skies and from dense Neotropical forests to open African grasslands. His facts are unimpeachable and his stories are utterly absorbing.

The seven chapters in No Way Home draw readers into the adventures of songbirds, monarch butterflies, great herds of ungulates, marine mammals, sea turtles, anadromous fishes, and more. We are treated to inside views of a National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, great northwestern rivers, the spectacular Masai Mara, and urban parks close to the hearts of local residents. Wilcove's commitment to conserving the mysterious phenomena of migration is clear, yet his tone is never preachy. Instead, he presents a straightforward explanation of why the legacy of human settlement and growth makes it difficult for animals to complete their life's journey. Tales of goofy ecologists, dedicated politicians, and even an intrepid author enliven the text. The book's tone is conversational. Threads of discussion range widely, but never lose cohesion.

Wilcove's message is realistic - climate change and economic pressures complicate dispersal for many creatures. Nevertheless, numerous innovative partnerships among conservationists, management agencies, and private citizens successfully have protected key habitats for migratory species. Such cooperative agreements also protect ecological processes that promote social equity and human well-being.

No Way Home is a fine read for outdoor enthusiasts, armchair tourists, and professional scientists alike. It is suitable for virtually all ages and political philosophies. The only drawback to the book is its lack of glossy photographs. For that, you'll need to renew the Geographic subscription.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jd103 on March 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations by David Wilcove is a book about the disruption of animal migration routes. In the introduction, Wilcove lists the four major problems. First is habitat destruction which may be at either end of the journey or at rest points along the route. Second, obstructions such as dams, roads, fences, cell towers. Third, overexploitation meaning hunting for food by more 'advanced' methods than traditionally used, such as miles long drift nets in the ocean.

Most interesting, most unpredictable, and most out of our control, climate change which can affect ecological relationships in many ways as species (plant and animal) which depend on each other for food, pollination, etc. react differently to rapid changes. An example is given involving when oaks leaf out, determining what the tannin (a defense against insects) level of the leaf will be when a moth is ready to lay eggs on it and when those eggs become caterpillars. Will migrating bird species arrive at the proper time to eat some of those eggs or caterpillars? If they get there too late, they'll not only be going hungry but the forest will be damaged by the larger population of moths.

From the air come the bird migrations of course, and one of those fascinating cases of pulling one strand of the web and finding everything else connected: the rapidly declining population of red knots (a bird which breeds in northern Canada and winters in South America) was discovered to be caused by increased taking of horseshoe crabs by humans in the Delaware Bay area. Eating horseshoe crab eggs was a very important stop on the birds' migration route. The author also looks at the migrations of monarch butterflies, grasshoppers, and dragonflies.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. McMillan on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In his second book, No Way Home: The Decline of the World's Great Animal Migrations, David Wilcove renders an excellent account of an imperiled phenomenon most of us take for granted: migration. With one eye on the perils migrating creatures face and his other eye on the wonders of their journeys, the author both informs and entertains us. He sits front seat on a white-knuckle, high speed car chase after tagged dragonflies, wanders African plains in search of a million of wildebeests, and more. This book is as important as it is readable--a call to save not only breeding habitat for animals as diverse as butterflies and wildebeasts, but also to protect their winter homes and stopover sites between.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Wells on April 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an incredibly well-written and engaging book that not only opens up your thinking about migrations to include insects, fish, and mammals along with birds, but it brings into sharp focus the losses of migratory species and behavior that have already occurred. Wilcove really made me think even more about why protecting large intact ecosystems like the Boreal is important.


Jeff Wells
author, Birder's Conservation Handbook
Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Wilcove does an excellent job with this book. Animal migration is a fascinating topic, and there is much we still do not know about it. Wilcove describes in very readable detail the intricacies of migration of a variety of species and the conservation challenges they (and we) face. It is well suited for non-scientists who are interested in animal migration, but scientists interested in the topic will certainly not be disappointed.
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