Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World's Greatest by William Stolzenburg

By William Stolzenburg

EISBN-13: 978-1-60819-331-8

Rat Island rises from the icy grey waters of the Bering Sea, a mass of volcanic rock lined with tundra, halfway among Alaska and Siberia. as soon as a distant sanctuary for huge flocks of seabirds, the island received a brand new identify whilst shipwrecked rats colonized, savaging the nesting birds by way of the hundreds of thousands. Now, in this and hundreds and hundreds of different distant islands around the globe, a massive-and hugely controversial-wildlife rescue challenge is below way.

Islands, making up simply three percentage of Earth's landmass, harbor greater than half its endangered species. those fragile ecosystems, domestic to specified species that advanced in peaceable isolation, were catastrophically disrupted through mainland predators-rats, cats, goats, and pigs ferried through people to islands world wide. to avoid wasting those endangered islanders, educational ecologists have teamed up with specialist hunters and semiretired poachers in an intensive act of conservation now bent on annihilating the invaders. Sharpshooters are sniping at goat herds from helicopters. organic SWAT groups are blanketing mountainous isles with rat poison. Rat Island reveals a little-known and much-debated facet of today's conservation move, based on a cruel-to-be-kind philosophy.

Touring unique locales with a ragtag workforce of environmental warring parties, William Stolzenburg can provide either perilous experience and intimate photos of human, beast, hero, and villain. And amid manifold threats to existence on the earth, he unearths a brand new cause to pray.

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However, those activities were only a part of his lifework. Muir loved to roam the mountains, drawing and making notes as he went. He authored several books about the geology and natural history of the Sierra Nevada, turning his observations into writings that stirred people to visit and protect wild areas. Though he only had a few college classes in geology and botany, he was among the first people to recognize that Yosemite Valley was formed by glacial action, a conclusion he arrived at through his intimate acquaintance with the area.

The best naturalists, like Darwin and Lewis and Clark, all kept journals that we value highly today for the insights that they provide into the thoughts and experiences of our ancestors. If Columbus hadn’t written it down, we would have no way of knowing which island he actually landed on, what the people living there were like, or how long he lingered. Meriwether Lewis is famous for the maps he included in his journal which make it possible for us today to accurately retrace the progress of the first transcontinental expedition, and even pinpoint many of the camp sites and the places where significant events occurred.

It doesn’t matter if the weather is balmy and warm most of the time. If the mercury dips below freezing one day per year in a specific valley, that plant will be excluded from the site. The same can be imagined on a multiyear scale. Suppose you have a run of 20 “good” years, where the temperature never dips below freezing, but every twentieth year the temperature drops to 17 degrees. Our hypothetical plant will still be excluded. We are all familiar with this phenomenon because we hear news reports every 7 or 8 years of the citrus crop in Florida or California being wiped out by a cold snap.

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