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Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker

The Laysan albatross is known as Mōlī in Hawaiian. It is difficult not to speak in superlatives when describing the albatross. The bird has a wingspan longer than most humans are tall. Albatross far outlive most other birds — with one active albatross now 64 years old. They spend most of their lives  at sea, gliding just a few inches above the waves. Only 5% of their lives are spent on land — and this is where they are particularly vulnerable, when they are breeding and caring for their chicks. Author Hob Osterlund is founder of the Kaua’i Albatross Network an organization that works to protect these birds. And through her writing you …

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Book Review: Rescued

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Endangered Species, Fiction by Mindy Mejia

Rescued, Eliot Schrefer’s third entry in his anticipated quartet of ape novels published by Scholastic, represents a departure in many ways from the first two books in the series. Endangered and Threatened both took place in Africa and featured early teen narrators fighting to survive alongside bonobos and chimpanzees. In Rescued, Schrefer brings his series to the United States and introduces us to John, a sixteen-year-old football player who is the product of a broken home, and Raja, the orangutan his father smuggled into the country to become the family’s pet. We first meet these two as they are separated, Raja …

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Cloak and Jaguar: Following a Cat from Desert to Courtroom

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Living in Southern Oregon, we’ve followed the comings and goings of a gray wolf named OR-7. When it dipped into Northern California, it became the first documented wolf in that state in 100 years. But now that we have named this animal, we must live with the constant fear that it will be harmed by humans, such as ranchers or hunters. With this in mind, I was eager to read Cloak and Jaguar by Janay Brun. In 2011, Arizona saw its first documented jaguar in a decade. Jaguars once roamed widely through the Southwest US but have not been welcome in …

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Do Unto Animals: A Guide to Raising a More Compassionate Family

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Endangered Species, Insects, Nonfiction, Veganism by John Yunker

I grew up around cats, so it always struck me as odd when people didn’t understand what a cat’s purr signified. Then again, I did not grow up around cows or goats or sheep and don’t understand their behaviors. You have to learn how to live among animals. How to read the languages they speak through their body language and the noises they make. And since not all of us were raised in households with pets or by outdoorsy parents, how do we learn how to peacefully coexist with animals when we don’t have much practice? This book provides a great start. What I …

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The Narrow Edge

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans, Pollution by JoeAnn Hart

    The Narrow Edge By Deborah Cramer Yale University Press, 2015.   The “narrow edge” in the title of this engaging book by Deborah Cramer evokes the image of comedian Harold Lloyd, in the 1923 film Safety Last!, teetering on a skyscraper ledge, clinging for dear life to the hands of a clock. It is an apt metaphor for the uncertain future of the red knot (“a small sandpiper about the size of a robin and weighing about as much as a coffee cup”), which roams the sliver of sand between land and sea, a precarious place to be …

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Submissions for Among Animals will close December 15

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Conservation, Endangered Species, For Writers, Insects, Veganism, Wolves, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond

We are pleased to announce we’re on the home stretch toward choosing stories for the next edition of Among Animals. We’re still looking for a few more great stories and have set a deadline of December 15. So if you’ve got a short story you think might fit, please send it along! And for more details about what we’re looking for in these stories, check out our first edition, which will give you a good idea of what the anthology is all about. And thanks to everyone who has shared their work with us so far. We’ve been honored to read your stories.

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Flight Ways: Birds living on the dull edge of extinction

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker

In Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, environmental philosopher Thom van Dooren tells the stories of five species of bird: Albatross Little Penguin Indian Vulture Whooping Crane Hawaiian Crow Each species sheds light on a different “extinction story.” We begin with the albatross — birds that spend most of their lives gliding inches above the sea, ingesting plastics and other contaminants that they in turn feed to their offspring, resulting in increased numbers of dead offspring. Fishing lines have had an equally devastating effect on the adults. Most humans may never set eyes on an albatross, but by eating seafood or by simply …

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Beyond Words: The more we study animals, the smarter they get

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker

In Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, Carl Safina sets out on a global journey to listen to and understand animals on their terms and not ours. By the end of this book, I can guarantee that readers will come away with a greater appreciation for the self-awareness, intelligence, and empathy of the animals we share this planet with. The bulk of the book is devoted to studying African elephants, North American wolves, and Pacific Northwest orcas (killer whales). Safina does an excellent job of describing what he sees and learns as he travels with naturalists who have dedicated their lives to understanding these species. We watch …

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Book Review: Among Wolves by Gordon Haber and Marybeth Holleman

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Wolves by Beckie Elgin

Among Wolves begins with tragic news of Gordon Haber’s death. Haber, the legendary biologist who spent over four decades in Alaska, died the way he lived, studying wolves in the wilderness of Denali National Park. It was October of 2009; Haber was in a research plane, as he often was, looking for wolves, when the plane crashed into a mountain along the East Fork River. The crash killed him and spared the pilot. Alaskan Marybeth Holleman, a substantial writer on environmental issues, created a book that is a testament to Haber’s life. She compiled papers done by Haber himself, (he’d …

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Orion book award winners: The Bees and Feral

In Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Orion Magazine has announced its 2015 Book Award winners: Non-fiction winner: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, by George Monbiot (University of Chicago Press), Finalists: A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths (Counterpoint) The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt and Company) > See the EcoLit Books Review by Midge Raymond Windfall, by McKenzie Funk (The Penguin Press) Zoologies, by Alison Hawthorne Deming (Milkweed Editions) > See the EcoLit Books Review by JoeAnn Hart   Fiction winner: The Bees, by Laline Paull (Ecco Press) Finalists: Divine Animal, by Scott Russell Sanders (Earth Works Publishing) Invisible Beasts, by Sharona Muir …