Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

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9781596916241: Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
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For years, predators like snow leopards and white-tipped sharks have been disappearing from the top of the food chain, largely as a result of human action. Science journalist Will Stolzenburg reveals why and how their absence upsets the delicate balance of the world's environment.

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About the Author:

Will Stolzenburg has studied predator control techniques and worked as a wildlife technician, monitoring endangered species. He has written hundreds of magazine features and columns on the ecology of rarity and extinction for Science News and Nature Conservancy, among others. He lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

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Starred Review. In this impassioned debut, wildlife journalist Stolzenburg examines predation's crucial role in the preservation of ecological diversity, painting nightmarish pictures of what happens when top carnivores are exterminated from ecosystems. Without sea otters to keep ravenous sea urchins in check, some ocean floors in the North Pacific have been stripped of kelp. In Yellowstone National Park, the eradication of wolves has resulted in a glut of elk that have trampled river banks and chewed down young trees. White-tailed deer have denuded the undergrowth in the forests of the eastern United States, because wolves and cougar have disappeared. Without large meat eaters, mid-size predators—raccoons, blue jays, crows, squirrels, opossums—have proliferated, to the detriment of songbird populations. In dazzling descriptions, Stolzenburg demonstrates how the delicate balance between predator and prey is so essential, and his book, rich in dramatic accounts of life and death in the wild, is powerful and compelling. (July)
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