Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat
Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat
You can also support parks in the city you live in. Urban parks are a great way to learn more about the natural world. They often have conservation programs for kids and may even offer a safe haven for species at risk in the urban environment. In Vancouver, British Columbia, Stanley Park has one of the largest urban colonies of Pacific great blue herons in North America. Pacific great blue herons are considered a species at risk in Canada, their populations declining because of habitat loss and human disturbance. Seeing these magnificent birds in and around the park is always a special experience. In the summer of 2018 there were eight-five active heron nests with ninety-eight fledglings (baby birds old enough to fly). The Stanley Park Ecology Society monitors the heronry and also runs education programs, restores habitat for wildlife, manages invasive species and more. The society always welcomes volunteers to help monitor birds, remove invasive species or engage park visitors with information about the natural world to spread the joy of connecting with nature. Find out more about parks in your city and what they do to support biodiversity.
Groc is an internationally recognized photo-journalist and filmmaker. Her passion for environmental education infuses this inaugural volume in the “Orca Wild” series. She draws from her vast archive of photographs taken during scientific expeditions and local outings with her children to illustrate this volume.
Gone is Gone is a valuable introduction to the international study of endangered species, with an emphasis on animals but also including plant species and entire ecosystems. Groc begins by describing the science-based International Union for Conservation of Nature’s annual Red List of Threatened Species that, in 2018, measured close to 100,000 species’ risk of becoming extinct by using a cascading eight-category scale. She clearly documents the causes of endangerment: habitat loss, pollution including micro-plastics, climate change, wildlife for sale for food, sport or traditional medicines, and invasion of habitat by introduced species. To understand endangered species, scientists employ field studies following line transects and use tools such as camera traps. The knowledge of locals living in proximity to the wildlife can be a crucial source of information. Groc supplements the text of the first two chapters with “wild encounters” that serve as mini case studies highlighting the study of one particular creature, such as the narwhal or giraffe.
The last two chapters focus upon efforts to save endangered species and endangered species in your own backyard. These chapters incorporate mini case studies called “act for the wild” that describe efforts, some without success, to help specific species recover. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the scale of the loss of habitats and species around the world, and so the final chapter, with its practical suggestions on activities children can embrace, is most welcome. Conservation of natural habitat starts in our own back yards and urban parks. Citizen scientists can participate in programs such as the Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count. We can all consume less stuff, especially plastics.
In Gone is Gone, important terms that may be new to the readers are italicized or both italicized and in bold type. The reasoning for the two methods of highlighting terms is unclear. The meanings of the terms is usually provided in the context of the text or explained in parentheses, as in the example of fledglings that appears in the excerpt. The terms are also listed and defined in a glossary. The volume includes a valuable inventory of resources in print and online sections for each of the chapters. The final book will include an index. The detailed Contents pages can also help readers zoom in on specific topics as each chapter lists four to six subheadings used to organize the text.
Val Ken Lem is a collections librarian at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.