From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this impassioned debut, wildlife journalist Stolzenburg examines predation's crucial role in the preservation of ecological diversity, painting nightmarish pictures of what happens when top carnivores are exterminated from ecosystems. Without sea otters to keep ravenous sea urchins in check, some ocean floors in the North Pacific have been stripped of kelp. In Yellowstone National Park, the eradication of wolves has resulted in a glut of elk that have trampled river banks and chewed down young trees. White-tailed deer have denuded the undergrowth in the forests of the eastern United States, because wolves and cougar have disappeared. Without large meat eaters, mid-size predators—raccoons, blue jays, crows, squirrels, opossums—have proliferated, to the detriment of songbird populations. In dazzling descriptions, Stolzenburg demonstrates how the delicate balance between predator and prey is so essential, and his book, rich in dramatic accounts of life and death in the wild, is powerful and compelling. (July)
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“Absorbing and delightful…Not just an enriching story, but a new, clarifying lens through which to understand the world around us.”—Christian Science Monitor
“Stolzenburg’s infectious enthusiasm should spark even in bug-wary urbanites a renewed appreciation for nature’s complexity.”—Time
“A meticulous and convincing argument that alpha predators are the primary regulators of ecosystems, and that their removal is crippling our planet’s biodiversity.”—Bill McKibben, Boston Globe