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Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin Paperback – October 15, 2009
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Download the first chapter of Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin [PDF].
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Top Customer Reviews
Samuel Turvey's detailed account of the entire history of the Baiji, up to untimely extinction (probably in 2006), is a lively, well-written account - an engaging piece of nature and travel writing - but, more importantly, a good summation of all that can go wrong when proper and timely efforts are not made to conserve a critically endangered species. With the historical lack of understanding of conservation in China (and the pressure of development), the mistakes made there are tragic, if understandable.
However, Turvey makes clear that what was needed was repeated time and again by scientists and conservationists at workshops and conferences and in journal papers, official reports and the popular press, but this information was never put into practice. Turvey puts the reader right on the spot at each step of the way, revealing many of the personalities and the dying environment in which the Baiji lived. The relentless threats (including dams, long-line fishing and pollution), political difficulties between countries and even research centres, human-wildlife conflicts, lack of understanding (including mistreatment of captured specimens and failure to attempt a breeding programme) are recounted in Turvey's lively observational style.
Perhaps the image that remains longest is of Qi Qi, a Baiji resident at the Institute of Hydrobiology in Wuhan for 22 years - "footage of Qi Qi swimming round and round his concrete pool played to the soundtrack of a Chinese rendition of 'Que Sera Sera'. It was too unintentionally and horribly poignant for words."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book changed the way I approach everything in my life. It was brutally honest and eye opening. If we do not take responsibility for our actions than what will we have left? Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by Elizabeth R Kura
I found this book fascinating and heartbreaking. A real interesting view on how conservation works in China. It is also a devastating tale of extinction happening in our time. Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by M. C. Baumer