When the first field study of the Florida panther took place in 1973, so little was known about the animal that many scientists believed it was already extinct. During more extensive research conducted from 1981 to 1986, panthers were proven to exist, but the handful of senile, anemic, and parasite-infested specimens that were captured indicated a grim future. During those early years a remarkably enduring image of the panther was born, and despite voluminous data gathered over the next decade that showed the panther to be healthy, long-lived, and reproducing, that earlier image has yet to be dispelled.
For nine years, biologist David S. Maehr served as project leader of the Florida Panther Study Project, helping to gather much of the later, surprisingly positive data. In The Florida Panther, he presents the first detailed portrait of the animal -- its biology, natural history, and current status -- and a realistic assessment of its prospects for survival.
Maehr also provides an intriguing look at the life and work of a field biologist: how captures are made, the intricacies of radio-telemetry tracking, the roles of various team members. He describes the devastating intrusion of politics into scientific work, as he discusses the widespread problems caused by the failure of remote and ill-informed managers to provide needed support and to communicate effectively to the public the goals and accomplishments of the scientists. He examines controversial efforts to establish a captive breeding program and to manipulate the Florida panther's genetic stock with the introduction of relatives from west Texas.
Protection of high-quality habitat, much of it in the hands of private landowners, is the key to the long-term survival of the Florida panther. Unless agency decisionmakers and the public are aware of the panther's true situation, little can be done to save it. This book will play a vital role in correcting widespread misconceptions about the panther's current condition and threats to its survival.
Knowledge held about animals by Pima-speaking Native Americans of Arizona and northwest Mexico is intimately entwined with their way of life—a way that is fading from memory as beavers and wolves vanish also from the Southwest. Ethnobiologist Amadeo Rea has conducted extensive fieldwork among the Northern Pimans and here shares what these people know about mammals and how mammals affect their lives.
Rea describes the relationship of the River Pima, Tohono O'odham (Papago), Pima Bajo, and Mountain Pima to the furred creatures of their environment: how they are named and classified, hunted, prepared for consumption, and incorporated into myth. He also identifies associations between mammals and Piman notions of illness by establishing correlations between the geographical distribution of mammals and ideas regarding which animals do or do not cause staying sickness. This information reveals how historical and ecological factors can directly influence the belief systems of a people. At the heart of the book are detailed species accounts that relate Piman knowledge of the bats, rabbits, rodents, carnivores, and hoofed mammals in their world, encompassing creatures ranging from deer mouse to mule deer, cottontail to cougar.
Rea has been careful to emphasize folk knowledge in these accounts by letting the Pimans tell their own stories about mammals, as related in transcribed conversations. This wide-reaching study encompasses an area from the Rio Yaqui to the Gila River and the Gulf of California to the Sierra Madre Occidental and incorporates knowledge that goes back three centuries. Folk Mammalogy of the Northern Pimans preserves that knowledge for scholars and Pimans alike and invites all interested readers to see natural history through another people's eyes.
Aldo Leopold's classic work A Sand County Almanac is widely regarded as one of the most influential conservation books of all time. In it, Leopold sets forth an eloquent plea for the development of a "land ethic" -- a belief that humans have a duty to interact with the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise "the land" in ways that ensure their well-being and survival.
For the Health of the Land, a new collection of rare and previously unpublished essays by Leopold, builds on that vision of ethical land use and develops the concept of "land health" and the practical measures landowners can take to sustain it. The writings are vintage Leopold -- clear, sensible, and provocative, sometimes humorous, often lyrical, and always inspiring. Joining them together are a wisdom and a passion that transcend the time and place of the author's life.
The book offers a series of forty short pieces, arranged in seasonal "almanac" form, along with longer essays, arranged chronologically, which show the development of Leopold's approach to managing private lands for conservation ends. The final essay is a never before published work, left in pencil draft at his death, which proposes the concept of land health as an organizing principle for conservation. Also featured is an introduction by noted Leopold scholars J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle that provides a brief biography of Leopold and places the essays in the context of his life and work, and an afterword by conservation biologist Stanley A. Temple that comments on Leopold's ideas from the perspective of modern wildlife management.
The book's conservation message and practical ideas are as relevant today as they were when first written over fifty years ago. For the Health of the Land represents a stunning new addition to the literary legacy of Aldo Leopold.
We know very little about the fox and its habits—and our ignorance, Martin Wallen argues, is rooted in the fox’s bad reputation. Lowly, sly, and classified as vermin, foxes raid henhouses and garbage bins, spread disease, and injure domestic pets. At the same time, foxes are often considered beautiful, mysterious, and even oddly human. This book is the first to fully explore the fox as the object of both derision and fascination, from the forests of North America to the deserts of Africa to the Arctic tundra.
Whether portrayed as an unrepentant thief, a shape-shifter, or an outlaw, the fox’s primary purpose in literature, Wallen demonstrates, is to disrupt human order. In Chinese folklore, for example, the fox becomes a cunning mistress, luring human men away from their wives. Wallen also discusses the numerous ways in which fox-related terms have entered the vernacular, from “foxy lady” to the process of “foxing,” or souring beer during fermentation. Thoughtful and illuminating, Fox shows that this lovely creature is as beguiling as it is controversial.
Begun in 1941 as an outgrowth of Friends of the Land, the journal The Land was an attempt by editor Russell Lord to counteract -- through education, information, and inspiration -- the rampant abuse of soil, water, trees and rivers. But for all its seriousness of mission, The Land was a stimulating mix of fact and charm. It included literature, philosophy, art, and the practical observations of farmers and conservation workers, to encourage small farmers to understand and apply conservation principles to their lands.
This anthology, a fascinating mosaic, compiled from the 13 years of The Land tells in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and philosophy the story of how we changed from a nation of small farms to the agribusiness we have today. Among the 40 authors included are conservation and literary giants such as Aldo Leopold, E. B.White, Louis Bromfield, Paul Sears, Allan Patton and Wallace Stegner.