Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226366265 Will Publish August 2018
E-book $18.50 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226366432 Will Publish August 2018

Extreme Conservation

Life at the Edges of the World

Joel Berger

Extreme Conservation

Joel Berger

368 pages | 8 color plates, 31 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226366265 Will Publish August 2018
E-book $18.50 ISBN: 9780226366432 Will Publish August 2018
On the Tibetan Plateau, there are wild yaks with blood cells thinner than horses’ by half, enabling the endangered yaks to survive at 40 below zero and in the lowest oxygen levels of the mountaintops. But climate change is causing the snow patterns here to shift, and with the snows, the entire ecosystem. Food and water are vaporizing in this warming environment, and these beasts of ice and thin air are extraordinarily ill-equipped. A journey into some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, Joel Berger’s Extreme Conservation is an eye-opening, steely look at what it takes for animals like these to live at the edges of existence. But more than this, it is a revealing exploration of how climate change and people are affecting even the most far-flung niches of our planet.

Berger’s quest to understand these creatures’ struggles takes him to some of the most remote corners and peaks of the globe: across Arctic tundra and the frozen Chukchi Sea to study muskoxen, into the Bhutanese Himalayas to follow the rarely-sighted takin, and through the Gobi Desert to track the proboscis-swinging saiga. Known as much for his rigorous, scientific methods of developing solutions to conservation challenges as for his penchant for donning moose and polar bear costumes to understand the mindsets of his subjects more closely, Berger is a guide bar none. He is a scientist and storyteller who has made his life working with desert nomads, in zones that typically require Sherpas and oxygen canisters. Recounting animals as charismatic as their landscapes are extreme, Berger’s unforgettable tale carries us with humor and expertise to the ends of the earth and back. But as his adventures show, the more adapted a species has become to its particular ecological niche, the more devastating climate change can be. Life at the extremes is more challenging than ever, and the need for action, for solutions, has never been greater.


Part I At the Intersection of Continents—Beringia’s Silent Bestiary
1 Motherless Children in Black and White
2 Before Now
3 Beyond Arctic Wind
4 Where Worlds Collide
5 Muskoxen in Ice
6 When the Snow Turns to Rain

Part II Sentinels of Tibetan Plateau
7 Below the Margins of Glaciers
8 The Ethereal Yak
9 Birthplace of Angry Gods

Part III Gobi Ghosts, Himalayan Shadows
10 Counting for Conservation
11 To Kill a Saiga
12 Victims of Fashion
13 In the Valley of Takin
14 Pavilions where Snow Dragons Hide

Part IV Adapt, Move, or Die
15 The Struggle for Existence
16 A Postapocalyptic World—Vrangel
17 Nyima

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