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Return of the Condor: The Race to Save Our Largest Bird from Extinctionby John. Moir
Synopses & Reviews
Return of the Condor is a riveting account of one of the most dramatic attempts to save a species from extinction in the history of modern conservation.
The California condor, North Americas largest bird, lives 50 years or more, is highly intelligent, often mates for life, can fly 150 miles in a day, and was believed by Native Americans to have supernatural powers. But its strength and endurance were not enough to save it from near-extinction. Human greed and ignorance caused the great birds decline. Human ingenuity and insight became its only hope.
Down to only twenty-two individuals in the 1980s, the condor owes its survival and recovery to a remarkable team of scientists who flouted conventional wisdom and pursued the most controversial means to save it. Conservationists and scientists have fought what at times has seemed a quixotic battle to save the species. Theirs is a story of passion, courage, and bitter controversy, one that created a national debate over how to save Americas largest bird.
Return of the Condor chronicles this epic story. We meet Jan Hamber, the biologist who made the agonizing decision to capture AC9, the young male who was the last living wild condor; Carl Koford, the brilliant scientist whose flawed conclusions delayed a captive-breeding program until it was almost too late; and two of the condors whose survival was critical, including AC9 himself. There is tragedy and triumph in their stories. Today, condors are more numerous and far easier to see than at any time in the past century, and their expanding territory is home to millions of Americans. For Americas 52 million birders and anyone who cares about saving our natural heritage, this inspiring story shows what happens when we commit ourselves to working with nature instead of against it.
Pulling the California condor back from the brink of extinction has been difficult and expensive. But this fine book by John Moir makes abundantly clear why preserving magnificent beings like our once-more wild condors is one of twenty-first-century societys more important obligations.”
—Alan Tennant author of On The Wing: To The Edge Of The Earth With The Peregrine Falcon
Book News Annotation:
This book recounts how the California condor was saved from extinction. Moir describes what happened from the 1940s on, problems with captive breeding, and the specific work of Jan Hamber and Carl Koford. Included are color photos and a list of places to view wild condors. Moir is a naturalist, writer, and science educator. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A gripping account of the dramatic race to preserve one of America's most imperiled birds.
Return of the Condor is far and away the best book on the subject. John Moir covered the condor recovery effort for magazines and newspapers for years and his extensive and award-winning journalism, including an investigative piece for Birding magazine, became this fine book. Moir presents a unique insider’s view of the remarkable tale of saving a species from the brink of extinction.
Down to a population of only twenty-two in the 1980s, the condor owes its survival and recovery to a team of scientists who flouted conventional wisdom and pursued the most controversial means to save it. John Moir’s account shows the depth of their passion and courage and details the bitter controversy that led to a national debate over how to save America’s largest bird.
About the Author
John Moir is a naturalist and science educator, and his articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, the San Jose Mercury News, and The Sacramento Bee, among others.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Last Condor
Chapter 2 Giant Avian Primates
Chapter 3 Dancing Molokbes and Sinister Buzzards
Chapter 4 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Chapter 5 Death of a Chick
Chapter 6 Doin' the Double-Clutch Two-Step
Chapter 7 Point of No Return
Chapter 8 Kids on the Loose
Chapter 9 A Senseless Shooting
Chapter 10 AC8's Day in Court
Chapter 11 Shadows in the Sky
Chapter 12 Homeward Bound
Appendix 1 Where to See Condors
Appendix 2 How to Learn More About Condors
What Our Readers Are Saying
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