Swamp Screamer: At Large with the Florida Panther / Edition 1

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Overview

"Whether the panther survives or perishes, Fergus has written a book that does it full justice. His narrative is lively and full of anecdotes, some of them eye-openers."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

"As good as, or better than, any book I’ve read in years about the awful and willful ignorance of homo sapiens about the living world."—Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf

"Charles Fergus [is] a diligent reporter and straightforward writer. . . . You will enjoy [his] descriptions of forays into panther territory."—Kathleen Krog, Miami Herald

The Florida panther is an endangered species, its way of life altered by the spread of suburban culture across the state. In Swamp Screamer, Charles Fergus tracks the fifty or so panthers that survive in Florida, vividly describing the people trying to save these remarkable creatures—including wildlife biologists trying to preserve panther habitat and radical animal lovers who regard the panther as a symbol of their crusade on behalf of nature. Swamp Screamer is a surprising and often comic look at the wildlife movement today; it is also an evocative history of the vanishing wilds of Florida and a deeply affecting portrait of the panthers themselves.

Charles Fergus has written six books, including the novel Shadow Catcher; a collection of essays, The Wingless Crow; and a memoir, A Rough-Shooting Dog. He lives in a stone house that he built himself on a mountainside in central Pennsylvania.

The panther--a.k.a. the puma, the catamount, the cougar, or the mountain lion--is one of the most legendary of American mammals, In Florida, however, it is an endangered species, jeopardized by the culture of subdivisions, highways, and Wal-Marts that cover more and more of the state. In this book, Fergus tracks the 50 or so panthers that survive in Florida and the wildlife biologists who are trying doggedly to save them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Florida panther is facing extinction; its dwindling population of about 50 is threatened by genetic problems, fragmentation and loss of habitat. Fergus (A Rough-Hunting Dog) examines the current status of the panther and the efforts under way to save it. He crisscrossed Florida with wildlife officials, tracking and tagging animals for three years. Two state and two federal agencies are involved with panthers; their work includes captive breeding, importation of Texas panthers and monitoring tagged and released animals. Fergus discusses the politics of the panther and raises the pertinent questions: Should land be reserved exclusively for their habitat? Should we limit hunting in panther habitat, restrict resort and housing development and ban the use of land for new citrus groves? In the end, he makes a compelling case for saving the panther. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Through much of this century, the Florida panther has been little more than a shadow in the forest; now all known panthers are equipped with radio collars so that scientists can follow their every move. Not everyone agrees that this is best for the panther. Nature writer Fergus (A Rough Shooting Dog, LJ 8/91) reports conversations with wildlife biologists, politicians, Seminoles, landowners, and the local poor, as well as his own encounters with the panthers. He discusses the history and genetics of the Florida panther and the possibility of captive breeding. He tells the story of a severely endangered large carnivore in conflict with a burgeoning human population. In sum, Fergus asks us, "What price are we willing to pay to protect an endangered species." The writing is nontechnical, and the book is recommended for general collections.-Bruce D. Neville, Univ. of Texas at El Paso Lib.
Booknews
A narrative of wildlife biologists' efforts to save the estimated 50 wild panthers in Florida and their interactions with sportsmen, developers, theme-park owners, and radical animal lovers, offering an account of the complex scientific and political aspects of the wildlife movement, a history of Florida's vanishing wilds, and a portrait of the panthers and their habits. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Rick Bass
It is a measure of the times that so many of our books of natural history, such as Swamp Screamer, must be termed 'vital'-which it is. One of the more hopeful signs, however, is that there are writers such as Charles Fergus-himself vital-out there writing them. The book is yet one more stepping-stone in the pathway to recovering the crafted spirit of a wild place. Swamp Screamer is sad and scary and important to our own survival as well as to that of other wild creatures.
Maxine Kumin
A fascinating story, told in vivid detail by a writer who had totally immersed himself in the Florida panther's struggle to survive.
David Rains Wallace
Swamp Screamer is the best report I've read of the Florida panther's plight-well researched, highly readable, fair-minded. An excellent book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813015606
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 2/1/1998
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.72 (d)

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