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    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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Posts Tagged ‘corridors’

Habitat on Our Doorsteps: Making Room for Wildlife in an Urbanized World

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 3, 2018

(Illustration: Luisa Rivera)

by Richard Conniff/Yale Environment 360

One morning not long ago, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, I traveled with a Wildlife Conservation Society biologist on a switchback route up and over the high ridge of the Western Ghats. Our itinerary loosely followed the corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger Reserve with Kudremakh National Park 30 miles to the south.

In places, we passed beautiful shade coffee plantations, with an understory of coffee plants, and pepper vines — a second cash crop — twining up the trunks of the shade trees. Coffee plantations managed in this fashion, connected to surviving patches of natural forest, “provide continuous camouflage for the predators,” — especially tigers moving through by night, my guide explained, and wildlife conflict was minimal.  Elsewhere, though, the corridor narrowed to a thread winding past sprawling villages, and conservationists played a double game, part handholding to help people live with large predators on their doorsteps, part legal combat to keep economic interests from nibbling into the wildlife corridor from both sides. It was a microcosm of how wildlife hangs on these days, not just in India, but almost everywhere in the world.

For conservationists, protecting biodiversity has in recent years become much less about securing new protected areas in pristine habitat and more about Read the rest of this entry »

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How Deadly Power Lines Could Become Great Wildlife Habitat

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 4, 2015

(Photo: Ken Schulze/Getty Images)

(Photo: Ken Schulze/Getty Images)

In a lot of peoples’ minds, power transmission lines are the devil, and the idea that a transmission line right-of-way could function as useful wildlife habitat is the devil speaking in tongues. These corridors, an infuriated reader once told me, “have a devastating impact on the environment, kill thousands of birds, cause habitat segmentation, ruin property values, chase people from their homes, have dreadful visual impacts, and significantly reduce wildlife use per acre.”

These are no doubt all important issues to discuss, especially when wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects are increasing the demand for new power line corridors everywhere. And it’s not “thousands of birds.” A 2014 analysis estimated that 25.5 million birds now die every year in the United States from power line collisions and another 5.6 million from electrocutions. These are appalling numbers.

But the other reality is that the United States now has an estimated 9 million acres of land in existing power transmission corridors. That’s largely open space underneath the electric wires, and much of it is in regions where open space is hard to come by. In some cases, it is already becoming the best available habitat for

Read the rest of this entry »

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