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100 Under 100: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Living by Scott Leslie

By Scott Leslie

Scientists estimate that the complete biodiversity in the world is among 10 million and a hundred million species. of those, simply over 1.6 million and counting have really been catalogued and defined. One percentage, or 16,306, of these species are threatened with extinction, approximately one-fifth of them seriously. Of this staff, a few have vanishingly small populations within the double or unmarried digits. a number of species, together with the Pinta Island monstrous tortoise and the Yangtze big softshell turtle, take a seat squarely at the border of extinction within the wild with a inhabitants of one.

In 100 below 100, Scott Leslie tells the attention-grabbing tales of species in far-flung areas not anyone ever hears approximately, just like the northern hairy-nosed wombat, the Gorgan mountain salamander or the Irrawaddy river shark. in the direction of domestic are the Vancouver Island marmot, the Wyoming toad and the Devil’s gap pupfish. Leslie additionally tells tales of hopeful growth, as the various rarest of the infrequent are again from the threshold of extinction throughout the committed efforts of individuals round the world.

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Additional resources for 100 Under 100: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Living Things [Paperback]

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And, lest you think he was some kind of anomaly, another of his ilk nearly equalled these exploits with 1,000 tiger kills. Still another killed 300. And none other than King George V of England, who, with his princely son in tow, bagged himself no fewer than 39 tigers (plus four bears and 11 rhinos) on a hunt in Nepal in 1911. Such cruelty for “sport” defies the imagination. Now, all that is left of the once-abundant cheetah in Asia is a relic population of between 70 and 100 widely dispersed animals scratching for existence on the arid central plateau of Iran, a dangerous crossroads of drug smugglers and armed outlaws.

Greater bamboo lemur. Iranian Gorgan Mountain salamander. Nene. Bachman’s warbler. And they’re so unfamiliar, too. These aren’t species most of us know. Is anything really at stake as they hang on to survival by only a thread? The answer is an emphatic yes. Some of the species are intrinsically beautiful. All of them live in special places. Their declines shout out at our carelessness with our planet. And, some show that we can bring species back from the very edge, that we need not, indeed must not, accept extinction as an option.

That so many aquatic species are included in this book testifies to the wretched state of the world’s rivers and lakes. Not even the world’s oceans are pristine. Right whales were “right” because they were close to shore, easy to kill, and floated when harpooned. They almost disappeared because we lacked the wisdom to manage them sustainably. Or, for that matter, to anticipate that there is now a flourishing whaling industry where people shoot whales with digital cameras, not harpoons, and it generates more income than the first whaling industry ever did.

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