A pasteurized but persuasive plea for conservation of our fellow species. DiSilvestro, author of the 1988 comic werewolf novel (!) Ursula's Gift, once edited Audubon Magazine, and his engaging and inoffensive text--based on a forthcoming Audubon/TBS and PBS-TV series--mirrors that institution's moderate yet committed approach to ecology. Within these generously illustrated (170 photos, most in color) and handsomely designed (boxed insets, varying width columns) pages is none of the apocalyptic preaching of Christopher Manes' Green Rage (p. 486) or Bill McKibben's The End of Nature (1989). DiSilvestro guides with carrots, not sticks, laying out fascinating or endearing history and lore about his selected species--wolves, sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, ancient trees, and Nebraska's sandhill cranes--before delving deeply into their threatened extinctions. In his chapter ""The Wolf,"" for example, he establishes humanity's ancient link with wolves, looks at apocropha about humans raised by wolves, and discusses pack behavior before tracing the gradual eradication of the wolf in North America and the recent increase in scientific studies of wolves and efforts to preserve or reintroduce wolf populations into the wilderness. That gentle, richly informative approach allows his text to double as an entertaining nature handbook: an aim reflected in the appendices devoted to common and scientific names of some of the animals examined. But conservationism is the primary goal here, and manifests most forcefully in the last three chapters, dealing with the destruction of the arctic coastal plain, the ravages of poaching, and, finally and briefly, global problems--the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion. A few temperate suggestions for ecological activism (boycott shark meat, write to Congress) conclude the book. Aimed squarely and effectively at the mainstream--and likely to rally many to its important cause.