100 heartbeats: the race to save earth's most endangered species

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Rodale, Oct 27, 2009 - Nature - 303 pages
29 Reviews
It’s no secret that our planet—and the delicate web of ecosystems that comprise it—is in crisis. Environmental threats such as climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and land degradation threaten the survival of thousands of plant and animal species each day. In 100 Heartbeats, conservationist and television host Jeff Corwin provides an urgent, palpable portrait of the wildlife that is suffering in silence and teetering on the brink of extinction. From the forests slipping away beneath the stealthy paws of the Florida panther, to the giant panda’s plight to climb ever higher in the mountains of China in search of sustenance, to the brutal poaching tactics that have devastated Africa’s rhinoceros and elephant populations, Corwin takes readers on a global tour to witness firsthand the critical state of our natural world. Along the way, he shares inspiring stories of battles being waged and won in defense of the earth’s most threatened creatures by the conservationists on the front lines. These stories of hope and progress underscore an important message: Our own survival, as well as that of the world’s wildlife, is in our hands. The race to save the planet’s most endangered wildlife is under way. Every heartbeat matters.

 

From an early age, Jeff Corwin has worked for the conservation of endangered species. In addition to his work as a wildlife biologist, Corwin is also an Emmy Award–winning producer and host of more than a dozen television series that have been broadcast in more than 100 countries for the following networks: Discovery, Animal Planet, Disney, the Food Network, NBC, CNN, and the Travel Channel. His most recent documentary project, MSNBC’s 100 Heartbeats, is based on this book. He is the author of Living On the Edge and the Jeff Corwin Junior Explorers Series. Corwin holds bachelor of science degrees in biology and anthropology from Bridgewater State College and a master of science degree in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts. He is the founder of the EcoZone, an interactive museum in Norwell, Massachusetts. When not in the field, Corwin resides with his wife and two daughters on a small island off of the southeastern coast of Massachusetts.

Our planet—and the delicate web of ecosystems that comprise it—is in crisis. Environmental threats such as climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and land degradation threaten the survival of thousands of plant and animal species each day. In 100 Heartbeats, conservationist and television host Jeff Corwin provides an urgent, palpable portrait of the wildlife that is suffering in silence and teetering on the brink of extinction. From the forests slipping away beneath the stealthy paws of the Florida panther, to the giant panda’s plight to climb ever higher in the mountains of China in search of sustenance, to the brutal poaching tactics that have devastated Africa’s rhinoceros and elephant populations, Corwin takes readers on a global tour to witness firsthand the critical state of our natural world. Along the way, he shares inspiring stories of battles being waged and won in defense of the earth’s most threatened creatures by the conservationists on the front lines. These stories of hope and progress underscore that our own survival, as well as that of the world’s wildlife, is in our hands. "The importance of this absorbing and exciting book is that it bears witness to Earth’s vanishing wildlife by an expert who has actually visited the species, one by one. Corwin reports their status and prognosis, their case histories, and humanity’s chances to save each one—if we awaken in time."—E. O. Wilson, research professor, Harvard University, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of On Human Nature and The Ants

"On a warming world, conservation and wildlife protection is an increasingly desperate battle. Here are the stories of some real heroes, who should move us all to real action."—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

"A wonderful read filled with great outdoor adventure stories and fresh, interesting science. Jeff Corwin’s love of animals shines through these narratives."—Bruce Babbitt, former US Secretary of the Interior, and chairman, World Wildlife Fund

"Drawing from his travels to the front lines of the extinction crisis, Jeff Corwin paints a compelling portrait of the many threats facing our planet’s wildlife. Alternately frightening and inspiring, 100 Heartbeats holds important lessons about the impacts we have on endangered animals and what we can do to save them."—Rodger Schlickeisen, president and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife

"A riveting firsthand account of the lives of endangered animals and the stalwart efforts to secure their future. 100 Heartbeats makes the case clearly: Those present on the planet now have the responsibility, potential, and the opportunity for heroic rescue."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., bBiodiversity Chair and Former President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment

"Jeff Corwin is the best nature guide I know. In his gripping new book he pulls us into the life-and-death struggle to save the world's most endangered species. Rather than a collection of obituaries for endangered species, 100 Heartbeats illustrates how committed individuals and conservation organizations can prevent extinctions. This engaging mix of adventure, compassion for nature, and solid natural history is a perfect introduction to a world we are about to lose unless we act now."—Dr. Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund

"Biologist, Emmy Award-winning producer and TV host Corwin discusses polar and panda bears, Florida panthers and Bengal tigers, and other creatures in this valuable, far-reaching look at endangered species and global efforts to save them (published in conjunction with an MSNBC documentary). He begins with recollections of a trip to 'the ice-locked village of Kaktovik, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle,' where Corwin joins scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey studying polar bears, the first animals listed as endangered 'due to climate change and the resulting shrinking of sea ice.' Determined but far from didactic, Corwin hops the globe discussing a range of land and sea animals in immediate danger, but also the people who live among them and work for their preservation. He also highlights success stories: the California condor, for example, 'teetered precariously at an estimated 22 birds in 1987,' but intensive captive-breeding efforts have helped bring the population to more than 300. Proving that smart, concerted conservation can and does work, Corwin manages to dull the hopelessness and build a strong case for continuing efforts now and in the future."—Publishers Weekly

"Corwin states that the only species capable of saving endangered animals is the one that got them into trouble in the first place—humans. The '100 heartbeats' of the title refers to just how scarce these animals are: each species with 100 or fewer living individuals. Animal Planet star Jeff Corwin looks at the critically endangered and examines what is being done to save them, beginning with a chapter that discusses the broad causes of extinction—global warming and the loss of habitat—and then examines specific threats to endangered species while looking at animals most at risk from these threats. The cats, both big and small, and the giant panda are poster species for habitat loss; Hawaiian honeycreepers and Puerto Rican crested toads suffer from the depredations of introduced alien species; California condors and Chinese alligators contend with pollution of their limited habitat; and illegal hunting and capture for the pet trade doom elephants and many primates. Corwin’s conversational, upbeat style makes readers care about the species in peril."—Nancy Bent, Booklist

"Companion volume to an upcoming MSNBC documentary on the plight of the nearly 17,000 animal species now threatened with extinction. Biologist, conservationist and Animal Planet star Corwin recounts his heartwarming experiences travelling the globe to film rare animals and their devoted human caretakers. The author writes that more than 3,200 species are considered to be critically endangered-some with fewer than 100 individuals-and he estimates that 'if the rate of extinction isn't slowed, by the end of the century, more than half the animal species alive today will be lost forever.' Travelling to Alaska, Corwin joined scientists who track polar bears across melting icecaps, marking and tagging them. In Africa, he observed the Mediterranean monk seal, now estimated to number fewer than 400. The author's journey to India provided him with the opportunity to watch a 700-pound Bengal tiger hunt deer at Ranthambore National Park. Fortunately, writes Corwin, many animals are being brought back from the brink. In Indonesia, he witnessed an orangutan-rescued as an infant after his mother was killed-released back into the wild after years of training him to identify hundreds of edible plants and schooling him in 'the rules of territoriality, which are different for males and females.' Here the author is quick to note that 'with creatures this complex, rehabilitation requires a staggering investment of time and money.' Corwin experienced one of his most poignant moments in Hawaii, when he saw the puaiohi thrush, one of only 15 individuals left in the species. Although at first sight it looked ordinary, 'it . . . transformed into the most vivid bird I'd ever seen. Every little feather, every twitchof its head seemed as vital an expression of life force as I'd ever witnessed.' Corwin advances the important message that every heartbeat matters."—Kirkus Reviews

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Review: 100 Heartbeats: A Journey to Meet Our Planet's Endangered Animals and the Heroes Working to Save Them

User Review  - Lara - Goodreads

Corwin summarizes and highlights the plight of many of the earth's species. The extinction of so many species is tragic and it's terrifying to think that humans are working at warp speed to destroy ... Read full review

Review: 100 Heartbeats: A Journey to Meet Our Planet's Endangered Animals and the Heroes Working to Save Them

User Review  - David - Goodreads

Being an animal lover, naturalist, and one who wants only the best for our wild companions here on earth... this book infuriated me as well as gave me hope. Very well written and very informative ... Read full review

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Contents

THE RACE AGAINST EXTINCTION
3
LOSING GROUND
33
PART II
71
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

From an early age, Jeff Corwin has worked for the conservation of endangered species. In addition to his work as a wildlife biologist, Corwin is also an Emmy Award–winning producer and host of more than a dozen television series that have been broadcast in more than 100 countries for the following networks: Discovery, Animal Planet, Disney, the Food Network, NBC, CNN, and the Travel Channel. His most recent documentary project, MSNBC’s 100 Heartbeats, is based on this book. He is the author of Living On the Edge (Rodale, 2004) and the Jeff Corwin Junior Explorers Series (Puffin Books). Corwin holds bachelor of science degrees in biology and anthropology from Bridgewater State College and a master of science degree in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts. He is the founder of the EcoZone, an interactive museum in Norwell, Massachusetts. When not in the field, Corwin resides with his wife and two daughters on a small island off of the southeastern coast of Massachusetts.

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