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September 3, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem

The Wild Ones by Jon MooallemWild Ones
by Jon Mooallem
Narrated by Fred Sanders

Genre: Non-Fiction / Science / Nature
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: May 16, 2013
Format: Audio, 10 hours | 19 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 4 of 5

From the Publisher:

In WILD ONES: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, New York Times magazine writer Jon Mooallem ventured into the field to examine what modern conservation efforts look like. WILD ONES merges history, science, and on-the-ground reporting with a gripping personal narrative that illuminates the mysterious and enduring bond between humans and nature.

My Thoughts:

The title is a little misleading. We’re not only “looking at people looking at animals”, we are looking at the state of conservation in North America, past, present and even the future. While observing his daughter, the author noticed how young children are drawn to wild animals. Their presence is everywhere, yet as adults we act indifferent and often tolerate their destruction.

The author focuses on three endangered species to illustrate his research on conservation: The Polar Bear (Churchill, Manitoba), the Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly (Antioch Dunes, California), and the Whooping Crane (Wisconsin‐Florida migration flyway). All three were fascinating and very different accounts of humans attempting to co-exist with the animals and manage the ecosystems.

Polar bears have become the poster child for climate change, and eco-tourism is a booming industry for people who want to see the bears in the wild before they are gone. Meanwhile the Lange’s metalmark butterfly exists in a small, fragile ecosystem and is little known to the public.

My favorite was the last part on the Whooping Cranes and Operation Migration. In the 1940’s the cranes nearly went extinct with only 15 known birds in the wild. Birds bred in captivity and released into the wild didn’t know how to migrate as migration is taught by the parents. Operation Migration uses ultralight aircraft upon which the cranes have imprinted to guide them along the migration route from Wisconsin to Florida. A fascinating account.

As we learn about these spectacular efforts involving time, money, and management, many questions begin to arise. Should we even try to save these species in the wild? Is it even possible without continuous management? Species are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. There is controversy and some scientists don’t believe we should.

The book is well-written in an engaging, story-telling style without technical or scientific jargon. I listened to the audio production which was read in clear and pleasant tones by Fred Sanders. This is the perfect kind of book to choose audio over print. It’s easy to pick up where ever you left off and not have to worry about losing the plot.

This is an important and timely book, but in the end, there are no easy answers on saving endangered species and, ultimately, our planet. What it will do is make the reader ponder the subject a little more intently.

Source: Review copy
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. irene / Sep 3 2013 12:31 pm

    Sound like a very significant book. Thank YOu.


  2. BermudaOnion / Sep 3 2013 3:10 pm

    This does sound like an important book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


  3. Suko / Sep 3 2013 5:29 pm

    Leslie, this does sound like the kind of book that would be good to listen to. Terrific review as usual.


  4. stacybuckeye / Sep 5 2013 9:51 pm

    These books tend to make me sad. I get so caught up in the plight.


  5. Laurie C / Sep 6 2013 6:15 pm

    That is a great subtitle for a book! I’m not the zoo/safari/wildlife preserve type, but I might enjoy listening to this book, which might explain my discomfort with the idea of these places.


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