Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Why are Big Predators So Rare?

by Ron Hirschi & photographed by Thomas D. Mangelsen

Age Range: 9 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59078-435-8
Publisher: Boyds Mills

The answer to the subtitle is habitat destruction, pollution, global warming, reduction of prey, war, poachers and often all of the above. There are few surprises in these photo essays of disappearing large predators by the prolific author of science titles for young readers. However, the glossy full-color photos, strong conservation message and the selection of familiar and appealing predators will invite browsing by nature enthusiasts. Included here are lions, tigers, cheetahs, cougars, grizzly bears, polar bears and killer whales. The author urges people to “practice tolerance” sharing the wilderness with large predators. For example, when encountering a cougar: “shout at the cat, make yourself look big, and even throw objects in its direction.” That works, provided the cougar also practices tolerance. The author suggests the reader can “reduce conflicts” between cougars and domestic animals by making sure pets and livestock are protected within shelters and fences. The Endangered Species Act, eco-tourism and land purchases for protective refuges are discussed as efforts to reduce extinction. Readers are urged to “take action” by recycling and joining environmental groups, and the author provides websites for more information. A minor effort. (Nonfiction. 9-10)