Extreme Conservation: Life At The Edges Of The World
“By turns lyrical, despairing, and hilariously funny. . . . Informative and impassioned.—Publishers WeeklyOn the Tibetan Plateau, there are wild yaks with blood cells thinner than those of horses' by half, enabling the endangered yaks to survive at 40 below zero and in the lowest oxygen levels of the mountaintops. But climate change is causing the snow patterns here to shift, and with the snows, the entire ecosystem. Food and water are vaporizing in this warming environment, and these beasts of ice and thin air are extraordinarily ill-equipped for the change. A journey into some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, Joel Berger'sExtreme Conservationis an eye-opening, steely look at what it takes for animals like these to live at the edges of existence. But more than this, it is a revealing exploration of how climate change and people are affecting even the most far-flung niches of our planet.Berger's quest to understand these creatures' struggles takes him to some of the most remote corners and peaks of the globe: across Arctic tundra and the frozen Chukchi Sea to study muskoxen, into the Bhutanese Himalayas to follow the rarely sighted takin, and through the Gobi Desert to track the proboscis-swinging saiga. Known as much for his rigorous, scientific methods of developing solutions to conservation challenges as for his penchant for donning moose and polar bear costumes to understand the mindsets of his subjects more closely, Berger is a guide par excellence. He is a scientist and storyteller who has made his life working with desert nomads, in zones that typically require Sherpas and oxygen canisters. Recounting animals as charismatic as their landscapes are extreme, Berger's unforgettable tale carries us with humor and expertise to the ends of the earth and back. But as his adventures show, the more adapted a species has become to its particular ecological niche, the more devastating climate change can be. Life at the extremes is more challenging than ever, and the need for action, for solutions, has never been greater.
Table of Contents
ForewordProloguePart I At the Intersection of Continents—Beringia's Silent Bestiary1 Motherless Children in Black and White2 Before Now3 Beyond Arctic Wind4 Where Worlds Collide5 Muskoxen in Ice6 When the Snow Turns to RainPart II Sentinels of Tibetan Plateau7 Below the Margins of Glaciers8 The Ethereal Yak9 Birthplace of Angry GodsPart III Gobi Ghosts, Himalayan Shadows10 Counting for Conservation11 To Kill a Saiga12 Victims of Fashion13 In the Valley of Takin14 Pavilions where Snow Dragons HidePart IV Adapt, Move, or Die15 The Struggle for Existence16 A Postapocalyptic World—Vrangel17NyimaPostscriptAcknowledgmentsReadings of InterestIndex