Tibet Wild: A Naturalist's Journeys on the Roof of the World

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Island Press, Oct 3, 2012 - Nature - 400 pages
As one of the world’s leading field biologists, George Schaller has spent much of his life traversing wild and isolated places in his quest to understand and conserve threatened species—from mountain gorillas in the Virunga to pandas in the Wolong and snow leopards in the Himalaya. Throughout his celebrated career, Schaller has spent more time in Tibet than in any other part of the world, devoting more than thirty years to the wildlife, culture, and landscapes that captured his heart and continue to compel him to protect them.
Tibet Wild is Schaller’s account of three decades of exploration in the most remote stretches of Tibet: the wide, sweeping rangelands of the Chang Tang and the hidden canyons and plunging ravines of the southeastern forests. As engaging as he is enlightening, Schaller illustrates the daily struggles of a field biologist trying to traverse the impenetrable Chang Tang, discover the calving grounds of the chiru or Tibetan antelope, and understand the movements of the enigmatic snow leopard.
As changes in the region accelerated over the years, with more roads, homes, and grazing livestock, Schaller watched the clash between wildlife and people become more common—and more destructive. Thus what began as a purely scientific endeavor became a mission: to work with local communities, regional leaders, and national governments to protect the unique ecological richness and culture of the Tibetan Plateau.
Whether tracking brown bears, penning fables about the tiny pika, or promoting a conservation preserve that spans the borders of four nations, Schaller has pursued his goal with a persistence and good humor that will inform and charm readers. Tibet Wild is an intimate journey through the changing wilderness of Tibet, guided by the careful gaze and unwavering passion of a life-long naturalist.
 

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Contents

Chapter
1
Chapter
7
Chapter
13
Riddle of the Calving Ground
29
The Longest Walk
43
A Deadly Fashion
67
A Gift to the Spirit
95
The Good Pika
109
Two Mountains and a River
201
Into the Hidden Land
227
Tibetan Wild Sheep Scandal
259
Wild Icon of the Pamirs
273
A Bear in the House
311
The Snow Leopard
325
Selected References
357
Index
363

Chang Tang Traverse
125
Feral Naturalist
167

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About the author (2012)

George Schaller is vice president of Panthera and a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, both organizations based in New York, as well as adjunct professor with the Center of Nature and Society at Peking University in China.He has explored many remote corners of the planet, conducted wildlife research and conservation work in over twenty countries, and is a prolific author.His field work began in 1952 in Alaska and he was part of a 1956 expedition to northeastern Alaska which led to the establishment of America's largest protected area, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Spending most of his time in the field in Asia, Africa, and South America, Schaller has done seminal studies and helped protect some of the planet's most iconic animals.These range from mountain gorillas in the present Democratic Republic of the Congo, tigers in India, lions in Tanzania, and jaguars in Brazil, to giant pandas and wildlife on the Tibetan Plateau in China, and snow leopards and various wild sheep and goats in the Himalaya of Nepal and Pakistan.This work has been the basis for his scientific and popular writings, including 16 books, among them The Year of the Gorilla, The Deer and the Tiger, The Serengeti Lion (a National Book Award winner), The Last Panda, A Naturalist and other Beasts, and Tibet Wild.He has also helped to establish about a dozen protected areas in various countries.
Over the years, he has received a number of international conservation awards, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Indianapolis Prize in the USA, China's Baogang Environmental Prize, Japan's Cosmos Prize, India's Salim Ali Conservation Award, and the gold medal of the World Wildlife Fund.
With his wife, Kay, a close colleague in the field, they raised their two sons while on projects in various countries.

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