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A Naturalist and Other Beasts

Tales from a Life in the Field

List Price: $16.95

May 11, 2010 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 272 Pages | ISBN 9781578051700
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"His delightful book, imbued with his own unabashed sense of wonder before nature's beauties, is an antidote to this pragmatic trend." —Publishers Weekly

Since the 1950s, eminent field biologist George Schaller has roamed through many lands observing wild animals and conducting landmark long-term studies that have deepened our understanding of these creatures. He has reported and reflected on his work in classic, much-acclaimed books, including The Last Panda and National Book Award winner The Serengeti Lion, but much of his best writing has been ephemeral, published in magazines only to drop out of sight. This collection features nineteen short pieces brought together in book form to offer a unique overview of his life in the field.

Chapters describe stalking tigers in India and jaguars in Brazil’s Pantanal swamps, studying mountain gorillas in Central Africa and predator-prey relations in the Serengeti, tracking newfound species on the wild border of Vietnam and Laos, searching for snow leopards in the Hindu Kush, and Schaller’s groundbreaking work with giant pandas in Sichuan. Later accounts broaden the focus from individual creatures to whole ecosystems. “The careless rapture of my early studies has been replaced more and more by efforts to protect animals and their habitats,” he writes.

New to this book are Schaller’s introductions for each chapter, which add and update information, and an overall introduction that looks back on his remarkable career. His own photographs appear throughout: of animals and their behavior, of fieldowrk, of the author and his family “on location” in temporary homes from a hut in the African highlands to a tent in the snowy mountains of China.

GEORGE B. SCHALLER, vice president and science director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, continues to travel widely on field research and to work with governments and organizations on conservation projects. He is the author of many popular and scientific articles and books, including The Year of the Gorilla and Stones of Silence.


“Wildlife Conservation Society vice president Schaller presents 19 short pieces culled from the dozens of articles and books he has published during half a century spent observing animals around the world… His delightful book, imbued with his own unabashed sense of wonder before nature’s beauties, is an antidote to this pragmatic trend.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this fond memoir, Schaller presents exciting animal lore that will inspire readers to learn more about these precious creatures. It is good to be reminded of what is beautiful in this world, and of our collective responsibility to ensure its continued existence.” —Booklist

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