LOST WILD WORLDS by Robert M. McClung


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This companion volume to Lost Wild America (1969) sets out to cover the entire Eastern Hemisphere, and that it does so without degenerating into a mere catalog is an achievement in itself. The exhibits include both the aurochs, hunted by Julius Caesar and Charlemagne before its disappearance in 1627, and the unique fauna of Madagascar and Malaysia as well as the better-known snow leopard, gorilla and kangaroo. And our guide on the continent-by-continent survey is an eloquent, unsentimental defender of the rights of species, who recognizes that conservation can be an expensive proposition for Third World countries, yet, at the same time, warns that man's exploding population is the ulitmate threat to our wildlife heritage. While major policy decisions are debated only briefly (should Africa's game be strictly preserved or managed to provide protein for hungry people?), the methods of conservationists are illustrated by representative, and successful, rescue missions: Barbara Harrisson's ""rehabilitation center"" in Sarawak which helps young, illegally captured orangutans return to the wild is one of the most dramatic; the breeding in captivity of Prezewalski's horse, extinct in the wild, illustrates how zoologists keep stud books on rare animals in the hope that they can eventually return to their natural environments. Best of all, McClung uses the writings of Pere David and other early naturalists to give texture and historical depth to his status report. Even though many of the individual species have been publicized elsewhere, McClung's coherent, unobtrusively well-informed survey provides an indispensible overview.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Morrow