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Seeking the Sacred Raven: Politics and Extinction on a Hawaiian Island

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Seeking the Sacred Raven: Politics and Extinction on a Hawaiian Island Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Will the 'Alala ever return to the wild? A bird sacred to Hawaiians and a member of the raven family, the 'Alala today survives only in captivity. How the species once flourished, how it has been driven to near-extinction, and how people struggled to save it, is the gripping story of Seeking the Sacred Raven.

For years, author Mark Jerome Walters has tracked the sacred bird's role in Hawaiian culture and the indomitable 'Alala's sad decline. Trekking through Hawaii's rain forests high on Mauna Loa, talking with biologists, landowners, and government officials, he has woven an epic tale of missed opportunities and the best intentions gone awry. A species that once numbered in the thousands is now limited to about 50 captive birds.

Seeking the Sacred Raven is as much about people and culture as it is about failed policies. From the ancient Polynesians who first settled the island, to Captain Cook in the 18th century, to would-be saviors of the 'Alala in the 1990s, individuals with conflicting passions and priorities have shaped Hawaii and the fate of this dwindling cloud-forest species.

Walters captures brilliantly the internecine politics among private landowners, scientists, environmental groups, individuals and government agencies battling over the bird's habitat and protection. It's only one species, only one bird, but Seeking the Sacred Raven illustrates vividly the many dimensions of species loss, for the human as well as non-human world.

Review:

"The 'alala, a member of the raven family, is for native Hawaiians a sacred bird, revered as a guardian spirit for the soul on its way to the afterlife. These birds, indigenous to the island of Hawaii, were once plentiful, but disease, predation and loss of habitat have brought them to the brink of extinction. Walters (A Shadow and a Song) offers a devastating chronicle of what happens to attempts to save an endangered species when the interests of landowners, biologists, government agencies and conservation organizations clash: for the 'alala, everything ended in heartbreak in 2002, the last time one of these birds was observed in the wild. Now, Walters says, only 50 'alala remain, in captivity, and they may not survive if they are released, for in spite of all the hard work and sacrifice expended on saving them, little has been accomplished, especially regarding the conservation or renewal of their natural habitat. Walters's poignant book is a trenchant reminder of what can happen when politics and self-interest get in the way of preservation. Illus. not seen by PW. (June 29)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Long revered by Hawaiians as a spirit guide, the alala has disappeared from the wild. A few still survive in captivity. In this accessible text, Walters describes the series of missteps made by concerned scientists, landowners, and government officials that not only failed to save the raven from extinction, but ultimately hastened its demise. Walters (journalism, U. of South Florida) is a contributing editor of Orion magazine.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Long revered by Hawaiians as a spirit guide, the alala has disappeared from the wild. A few still survive in captivity. In this accessible text, Walters describes the series of missteps made by concerned scientists, landowners, and government officials that not only failed to save the raven from extinction, but ultimately hastened its demise. Walters (journalism, U. of South Florida) is a contributing editor of Orion magazine. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Walters captures brilliantly the internecine politics among private landowners, scientists, environmental groups, individuals and government agencies battling over the bird's habitat and protection. Seeking the Sacred Raven illustrates vividly the many dimensions of species loss, for the human as well as non-human world.

Synopsis:

Will the 'Alala ever return to the wild? A bird sacred to Hawaiians and a m

About the Author

Trained in journalism and veterinary medicine, Mark Jerome Walters has written and lectured widely on the origins of epidemics. A visiting lecturer at Harvard Medical School for the past two years, he is now a professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. His work has appeared in Audubon, Reader's Digest, and numerous other publications. A contributing editor of Orion magazine, Walters is also the author of the highly acclaimed book A Shadow and a Song. He lives on Florida's Gulf Coast.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781559630900
Author:
Walters, Mark Jerome
Publisher:
Island Press
Subject:
Birds & Birdwatching
Subject:
Birds
Subject:
Conservation
Subject:
Endangered species
Subject:
Political aspects
Subject:
Birds & Birdwatching - General
Subject:
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Subject:
United States / West / Pacific (AK, CA, HI, NV, OR, WA)
Subject:
Hawaiian crow.
Subject:
Hawaiian crow - Conservation -
Subject:
Birdwatching Guides
Subject:
Nature Studies-Birds
Edition Number:
1
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20060431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Hawaii
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » Birdwatching
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Extinction
Science and Mathematics » Ornithology » General Ornithology and Birding

Seeking the Sacred Raven: Politics and Extinction on a Hawaiian Island New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Island Press - English 9781559630900 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The 'alala, a member of the raven family, is for native Hawaiians a sacred bird, revered as a guardian spirit for the soul on its way to the afterlife. These birds, indigenous to the island of Hawaii, were once plentiful, but disease, predation and loss of habitat have brought them to the brink of extinction. Walters (A Shadow and a Song) offers a devastating chronicle of what happens to attempts to save an endangered species when the interests of landowners, biologists, government agencies and conservation organizations clash: for the 'alala, everything ended in heartbreak in 2002, the last time one of these birds was observed in the wild. Now, Walters says, only 50 'alala remain, in captivity, and they may not survive if they are released, for in spite of all the hard work and sacrifice expended on saving them, little has been accomplished, especially regarding the conservation or renewal of their natural habitat. Walters's poignant book is a trenchant reminder of what can happen when politics and self-interest get in the way of preservation. Illus. not seen by PW. (June 29)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Walters captures brilliantly the internecine politics among private landowners, scientists, environmental groups, individuals and government agencies battling over the bird's habitat and protection. Seeking the Sacred Raven illustrates vividly the many dimensions of species loss, for the human as well as non-human world.
"Synopsis" by ,
Will the 'Alala ever return to the wild? A bird sacred to Hawaiians and a m
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