It is hard to imagine a world without polar bears, tigers, puffins, bumblebees and sharks. But we need to face up to the fact that all over the world animals - large and small - are under threat and in desperate need of saving. There’s orang-utans and Amur leopards in Asia, kākāpōs and takahēs in Australasia, black rhinos and mountain gorillas in Africa, chinchillas and giant river otters in South America, Quino checkerspot butterflies and Santa Catalina rattlesnakes in North America, great raft spiders and Norfolk hawkers in Europe, and green turtles and fin whales in the oceans. And that’s just the start of it.
In this fantastic book, readers get to accompany Dr. Jess French - vet, conservationist and TV presenter - on a trip around the continents and oceans of the world as she highlights the plight of some of the many animals that are either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. On the trip, readers can learn about the threats to the species survival and the incredible efforts of conservationists to save them.
French begins with a brilliant foreword where she talks about her own wonderful and heart-wrenching experiences and how her worries for the loss of species resulted in the writing of this book where she hopes to educate, to inform, to encourage readers to care and to take action. A world map identifies the localities of the various featured animals. Over the pages that follow, thirty-eight animals are featured and several more are listed in a double page spread at the end. A wonderful ‘Call to Action' will empower readers to do all they can to make a difference and an extensive list of websites provides plenty of opportunities to carry out more research and to learn about how to help ‘save species’. A ‘Hope for the Future’ closes the book.
French writes passionately and matter-of factly and does not shy away from some very upsetting realities. Short, informative text introduces the various animals and explains how the animal is under threat and what, if any, action is being taken to protect it. A large, eye-catching coloured circle displays the location, threats and status of the animal. I love the illustrations of the animals - they are bold, colourful and vibrant and show how special and precious each and every one of the animals are.
Much of the book makes for a sad and sobering read. Most of the animals are under threat due to humans and their actions. French makes reference to destruction of forest habitats, killing for profit, poaching, the damage to precious ecosystems, hunting - for decorative purposes, medicines and meat, illegal trafficking and the animal trade, polluting waters and overfishing, and climate change. It is not all doom and gloom though. There are many brilliant individuals and organisations who are doing everything they can to protect animals and French champions closer policing, breeding programmes, tougher laws and punishments, education, the cleaning up of rivers and conservation programmes.
This is definitely the kind of book that will inspire future conservationists and is a reminder to us all that our small actions and thoughtful choices can help protect endangered animals. We are all responsible for ensuring the conservation conversation never dies out. Jess French’s book helps to educate and inform and will encourage readers young and old to take action and to help make certain that humans are not responsible for the loss of any more priceless species.
Recommended for 7+.