Thursday, June 21, 2007

Going, Going, Gone

It’s a simple concept. Ask 100 conservation groups from around the world to identify the one plant or animal they are most concerned about: a plant or animal that they feel is in danger of extinction. Some of the organisms in Going, Going, Gone are already extinct in the wild. Each listing tells the reader what their ecological status is, their estimated population, and what you can do to help save these creatures (usually this involves contacting a conservation group or lobbying a politician). There are a few unheralded species here – the Augustus snail of New Zealand, the Corncockle flower of Great Britain. But most of the endangered plants and animals in this book are well-known. African lions, lowland gorillas, ringed seals, leatherback turtles, jaguars, chimpanzees, cheetahs, elephants (both Asian and African). The list goes on and on. And that’s what is truly depressing about this book. It seems so easy to write off a snail, or a flower (sad, but unfortunately true). But the large, powerful mammals that have always been a source of fascination for us, ever since we were children? How could we not have our children grow up hearing stories about lions, tigers and bears? Oh my!

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