Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals
by Christopher J. Preston
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Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2023
MIT Press, The MIT Press
The news about wildlife is dire—more than 900 species have been wiped off the planet since industrialization. Against this bleak backdrop, however, there are also glimmers of hope and crucial lessons to be learned from animals that have defied global trends toward extinction. Bear in Italy, bison in North America, whales in the Atlantic. These populations are back from the brink, some of them in numbers unimaginable in a century. How has this happened? What shifts in thinking did it demand? In crisp, transporting prose, Christopher Preston reveals the mysteries and challenges at the heart of these resurgences.
Drawing on compelling personal stories from the researchers, Indigenous people, and activists who know the creatures best, Preston weaves together a gripping narrative of how some species are taking back vital, ecological roles. Each section of the book—farms, prairies, rivers, forests, oceans—offers a philosophical shift in how humans ought to think about animals, passionately advocating for the changes in attitude necessary for wildlife recovery.
Tenacious Beasts is quintessential nature writing for the Anthropocene, touching on different facets of ecological restoration from Indigenous knowledge to rewilding practices. More important, perhaps, the book offers a road map—and a measure of hope—for a future in which humans and animals can once again coexist.
“In the midst of ecological crisis, Preston brings genuinely good news: a few of our fellow species are not only thriving, but demanding that we do better by the rest of life on Earth.”
Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts
“What a joy this book is! Fascinating, intelligent, pragmatic, and moving. Preston's tenacious beasts show us how to live with nature and claim a more hopeful future for our planet.”
- Isabella Tree, author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm
“Preston shows that many species that once seemed doomed have posted surprising recoveries. All they ask is a fighting chance to survive; all I ask is that you read this book.”
- Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild and Beyond Words
“With grace and good cheer, Tenacious Beasts recounts the messy, fitful recovery of iconic creatures and the conservation approaches making their return possible. Preston offers vital insight to preserve biodiversity on our troubled, glorious planet.”
- Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
“Preston has achieved something remarkable: a fascinating synthesis of storytelling and science, reporting and philosophy to probe wildlife–human successes, distilling from them an understanding of how they were made possible by shifts in human perspectives.”
- Peter Stark, author of Astoria: Astor and Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire
“A captivating and astute understanding of how wild animals conduct their lives.”
- Rick McIntyre, author of The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series