strange behaviors

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  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Hundreds of Millions of Birds Have Gone Missing

Posted on November 5, 2016

by Richard Conniff/ You might think that what happened to the passenger pigeon couldn’t happen today. We know better than to allow a species with a population in the billions to dwindle away to nothing over the course of a few decades, don’t we? Sadly, no. In fact, it’s not just one species this time. […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, Environmental Issues | 3 Comments »

Animal Music Monday: “Wondering Where the Lions Are”

Posted on August 22, 2016

Given the rapid disappearance of lions from entire regions of Africa, this song seems appropriate, though mostly for its title. Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn has said he was inspired by reading Charles Williams’s fantasy novel The Place of the Lion, which I suspect is about lions the way C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, Funny Business | 1 Comment »

Angry Tweets Won’t Help African Lions

Posted on July 1, 2016

by Richard Conniff/The New York Times THE killing of Zimbabwe’s celebrated Cecil the Lion by a Minnesota dentist, on July 1 of last year unleashed a storm of moral fulmination against trophy hunting. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued an official statement calling for the hunter, Walter J. Palmer, to be hanged, and […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, Food & Drink | 3 Comments »

Last Act for Africa’s Vanishing Lions

Posted on October 26, 2015

The lion, long regarded as the king of wild African landscapes, is now rapidly vanishing from much of the continent. Where perhaps 200,000 of them roamed across Africa in the mid-twentieth century—and an estimated 500,000 in pre-colonial times—only about 20,000 now remain. Half of those are likely to disappear over the next two decades, according […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction | 5 Comments »

Why Killing Lions Like Cecil Could Be Good for Conservation

Posted on July 29, 2015

Here’s a counter-argument to the uproar about the killing of Cecil the Lion.  It comes from Niki Rust, a carnivore conservationist at the University of Kent, and Diogo Verissimo of Georgia State University: The death of a celebrity often makes the headlines, but it is less common that the death of wild animal has the […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, Environmental Issues | 1 Comment »

Putting Mountain Lions on Treadmills is Good–if Weird–Science

Posted on November 14, 2014

In 1892, a congressman from Alabama took the House floor to rant about a recent study showing that primitive birds had reptile-like teeth.  “Birds with teeth!” Hilary Herbert cried, “That’s where your hard-earned money goes, folks—on some professor’s silly birds with teeth.” As it happened, those birds were one of the great advances in our […]

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Posted in Cool Tools, Environmental Issues | 2 Comments »

Splendor in the Grass? Lions on a Very Hot Date

Posted on August 25, 2014

The photographer Dave Hamman took these photos of lions in flagrante delicto.  I was immediately reminded of Lord Chesterfield’s remark about sex: “The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” At least in this case the female maintains a certain decorum. Or maybe she’s just bored. The male meanwhile seems

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Posted in Sex & Reproduction | Leave a Comment »

“We Kill Lions All The Time”: Inside the Anti-Predator Mindset

Posted on August 18, 2014

  Whether they are trying to stop the killing of wolves in Idaho or lions in Tanzania, conservation biologists often come to a horrible moment when they realize that all their training has missed the mark. “I often think that I have three degrees in wildlife biology, and none of them is relevant to what […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction | 4 Comments »

Are Fences The Only Way to Save Africa’s Lions?

Posted on April 3, 2014

Is building fences the best way to protect wildlife from people, and people from wildlife? For a lot of wildlife enthusiasts, the question conjures up memories of zebra and wildebeest carcasses piled high in the 1980s, when cattle fences cut off ancient migration routes in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert. But this time, some biologists think that […]

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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, Environmental Issues | 1 Comment »

In Africa: No Room for Lions

Posted on December 5, 2012

Where does the lion sleep tonight?  Not in the jungle, the mighty jungle.  Not much room on the savanna either. Maybe you can find a spot at the zoo down the road?  I’ve written here before about the rapidly advancing likelihood of an Africa without wildlife.  Now a new study confirms that lions are rapidly […]

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Posted in Biodiversity, Conservation and Extinction | Leave a Comment »