From the Publisher
"A compelling narrative...In a style that evokes Dian Fossey's Gorillas in the Mist, Turvey weaves natural history, ecology, and poltics into a tapestry that illustrates the pattern of human impact across the globe. Turvey provides a valuable resource for conservation and restoration professionals to debate very important issues for biodiversity." Journal of Environmental Quality
"A must-read perspective for those who think of conservation as a vigorous fight to save biodiversity rather than an academic discipline. Written from the point of view of a scientist actively involved in the fight to save the dolphin, the book seethes with personal anger while at the same time being highly scholarly."The Quarterly Review of Biology
"An eye-opening tale."Sierra Club
"This powerful book should be required reading for budding conservation biologists, both as a call to action and as a warning regarding the limits of what action can achieve, in the world that humanity is busily creating." Biological Conservation
Turvey, a conservation biologist with the Zoological Society of London, was a researcher and lead author of the 2006 scientific report that found that the baiji-a pearly-white freshwater dolphin formerly endemic to China's Yangtze River-were probably extinct. This book chronicles the last-ditch efforts he and others took to save them. Industrialization in China has had incredible ecological costs; the Yangtze is not only a superhighway of ship traffic, but a receptacle for continuous discharges of raw sewage and toxic industrial effluents, and the baiji are just one of many species to suffer rapid declines (shad, sturgeon, paddlefish, aquatic birds). Among human inhabitants on the Yangtze basin, dysentery and intestinal cancers are already epidemic. Though grim, Turvey's work is also a primer on the science, politics and ethos of conservation, including case histories of successful recovery programs (e.g., the California Condor). Withering in his criticism of the Chinese bureaucracy, the rivalries between competing research institutes, the reluctance of outside scientists to become involved, and the frequently self-serving machinations of environmental activists, Turvey's book is a harsh cautionary tale that's honest and realistic about what's needed to save species facing extinction.
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