In the tradition of Douglas Chadwick's best-selling adventure memoir, The Wolverine Way, Tracking Gobi Grizzlies creates a portrait of these rarest of bears' fight for survival in one of the toughest, most remote settings on Earth. He demonstrates why saving this endangered animal supports an entire ecosystem made up of hundreds of interconnected plants and animals, from desert roses to Asiatic lynx and wild double-humped camels, all adapting as best they can to the effects of climate change. A parable of environmental stewardship in a legendary realm.
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Douglas H. Chadwick is a wildlife biologist who studied mountain goats and grizzlies in the Rockies, elephants in Africa, and whales in the world's oceans. Doug Chadwick began writing about natural history and conservation from national magazines, including National Geographic. He lives in Whitefish, MT.
Joe Riis is a wildlife biologist turned National Geographic photographer and a Young Explorers grantee. He lives in Bijou Hills, SD.
Honorable Mention, 2016 Foreword Indies Awards, Ecology and Environment
Honorable Mention, 2016 Foreword indies Awards, Pets & Animals
“In a remote and pitiless desert on the other side of the world from North America lives a bear that science understands only poorly so far and the general public isn’t aware of at all,” writes wildlife biologist Douglas Chadwick. “One of the scarcest creatures on the planet, it is a type of grizzly so extraordinary that its existence is hard to imagine even after you get to its homeland; in fact, especially after you get to its homeland.”
The Great Gobi Desert, one of the five largest deserts on the earth, covers half a million square miles, and with rainfall averaging a mere four to six inches per year and temperatures that soar to 122 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and drop to as low as minus 40 in winter, it is not the most comfortable place to track, capture, and radio-collar grizzlies. But time is of the essence if this unique subspecies is to be saved; Gobi grizzlies are now the rarest bears in the world, with only three to four dozen remaining. For a month every spring since 2005, the Gobi Bear Project team has been catching and radio-collaring these grizzlies.
Though Chadwick and the other members of the Gobi Bear Project know that saving these big, unruly, long-eared, shaggy, fun-loving, chocolate-colored, bronze, or golden Gobi grizzly bears will not change the world, it will at least keep them in it. That alone would make their work worthwhile, not to mention wild motorcycle rides through the astounding stony landscape and the thrill of discovering a bear in one of their traps.
“Here’s the deal with most of us grown-up naturalists,” Chadwick writes. “While we can toss around Latin names and biological principles, there’s a huge part of us that’s still just an eleven-year-old on a treasure hunt.” (Foreword Magazine)
Gold Award Winner, 2017 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Animals and Pets category
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