Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest

Front Cover
Cassowary Conservation & Publishing, LLC., 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 235 pages
Andrew Mack immersed himself in a vast expanse of roadless, old growth rainforest of Papua New Guinea in 1987.

He and his co-investigator Debra Wright, built a research station by hand and lived there for years. Their mission was to study the secretive and perhaps most dinosaur-like creature still roaming the planet: the cassowary.

The ensuing adventures of this unorthodox biologist studying seeds found in cassowary droppings (pekpek), learning to live among the indigenous Pawai'ia, traversing jungles, fighting pests and loneliness, struggling against unscrupulous oil speculators, and more are woven into a compelling tale that spans two decades. Mack shares the insights he garnered about rainforest ecology while studying something as seemingly mundane as cassowary pekpek. He ultimately gained profound insight into why conservation is failing in places like Papua New Guinea and struggled to create a more viable strategy for conserving some of Earth's last wild rainforests.

About the author (2014)

Andrew L. Mack Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance and founding board member of Green Capacity, Inc., and the Papua New Guinea Institute of Biological Research. He has worked for two of the largest international conservation organizations and two large natural history museums in the United States. He appreciates what an exceptional experience he was fortunate to have, living years in a pristine rainforest with no connection to the outside world, and he shares that experience with the reader. He has spent many years in other rainforest camps studying birds and tropical ecology, and he has published more than fifty scientific papers. He is most proud of the many Papua New Guinean students he has mentored. The author now lives on a small tree farm in western Pennsylvania where he focuses on writing and conservation. Mack travels often to New Guinea to support national scientists, teach and continue research on a variety of topics.

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