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• Real-life scientific adventure • A thought-provoking exploration of how the Endangered Species Act works--and how it fails Thirty years ago, researchers discovered a previously unknown species of bird in the rain-soaked and remote mountains of Hawaii. As they studied the creature--which sported a black mask and was called the po'ouli--they soon learned that its population was shrinking quickly, and they worked frantically to find out what was killing the species and how they might prevent its extinction. This fast-paced account of their work, done in one of the world's most inhospitable environments, describes a stirring fight for survival. It also illustrates the challenge of protecting endangered species in a rapidly changing world.
**A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 ** **A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book of September** In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O'Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations, panther-tracking in Florida swamps, ancient African rainforests, Neanderthal tool-making, and cryogenic DNA banks, O'Connor investigates the philosophical questions of an age in which we "play god" with earth's biodiversity. Each chapter in this beautifully written book focuses on a unique species--from the charismatic northern white rhinoceros to the infamous passenger pigeon--and the people entwined in the animals' fates. Incorporating natural history and evolutionary biology with conversations with eminent ethicists, O'Connor's narrative goes to the heart of the human enterprise: What should we preserve of wilderness as we hurtle toward a future in which technology is present in nearly every aspect of our lives? How can we co-exist with species when our existence and their survival appear to be pitted against one another?
This book brings together leading conservation practitioners to reflect on their response to the current global biodiversity crisis, through the lens of island species recovery and management. Initial chapters cover the biological understanding of small population biology and the growing threat of invasive species, while subsequent chapters discuss the management of these threats and the complexity of leading projects within a dynamic and still relatively unknown system. Multiple case studies from islands worldwide illustrate key points, allowing readers to draw on the first-hand practical experience of experienced professionals. This resource will be invaluable to both current and future conservation professionals, helping them to go beyond disciplinary 'comfort zones' and develop, manage and lead projects over extensive timeframes in a way that brings others with them on the journey.
Hawaii’s forest bird community is the most insular and most endangered in the world and serves as a case study for threatened species globally. Ten have disappeared in the past thirty years, nine are critically endangered, and even common species are currently in decline. Thane K. Pratt, his coeditors, and collaborators, all leaders in their field, describe the research and conservation efforts over the past thirty years to save Hawaii’s forest birds. They also offer the most comprehensive look at the reasons for these extinctions and attempts to overcome them in the future. Among the topics covered in this book are trends in bird populations, environmental and genetic factors limiting population size, avian diseases, predators, and competing alien bird species. Color plates by award-winning local photographer Jack Jeffrey illustrate all living species discussed or described.
Will the 'Alala ever return to the wild? A bird sacred to Hawaiians and a member of the raven family, the 'Alala today survives only in captivity. How the species once flourished, how it has been driven to near-extinction, and how people struggled to save it, is the gripping story of Seeking the Sacred Raven. For years, author Mark Jerome Walters has tracked the sacred bird's role in Hawaiian culture and the indomitable 'Alala's sad decline. Trekking through Hawaii's rain forests high on Mauna Loa, talking with biologists, landowners, and government officials, he has woven an epic tale of missed opportunities and the best intentions gone awry. A species that once numbered in the thousands is now limited to about 50 captive birds. Seeking the Sacred Raven is as much about people and culture as it is about failed policies. From the ancient Polynesians who first settled the island, to Captain Cook in the 18th century, to would-be saviors of the 'Alala in the 1990s, individuals with conflicting passions and priorities have shaped Hawaii and the fate of this dwindling cloud-forest species. Walters captures brilliantly the internecine politics among private landowners, scientists, environmental groups, individuals and government agencies battling over the bird's habitat and protection. It's only one species, only one bird, but Seeking the Sacred Raven illustrates vividly the many dimensions of species loss, for the human as well as non-human world.
An authoritative study of extinction in birds, with case studies of 20 critically endangered species and the research initiatives designed to save them.
Part detective story, part love affair, and pure adventure storytelling at its best, a celebration of the thrill of exploration and the lure of wild places during the search for the elusive Nechisar Nightjar. In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia. On that expedition, they collected more than two dozen specimens, saw more than three hundred species of birds, and a plethora of rare butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals, and plants. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world. This wing would set the world of science aflutter. Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. It was like nothing they had ever seem before. Could a new species be named based on just one wing? After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Camprimulgus Solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream. Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.

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