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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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Posts Tagged ‘dolphin’

Seal Team 6 Dolphins to Rescue the World’s Most Endangered Dolphin?

Posted by Richard Conniff on July 7, 2017

(Richard Ellis/Getty)

Many news organizations are reporting that conservationists will use military-trained dolphins to find and help round up the last vaquitas for a captive breeding program. I’m not sure if these dolphins are playing the part of Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead, or if it’s a Judas find-and-betray thing.  But the notion of Seal Team 6 dolphins coming to the rescue of critically endangered species fills me with trepidation. By way of background, I am republishing this column I wrote at Thanksgiving in 2014 about the plight of the world’s most endangered dolphin.


by Richard Conniff/

One thing for which we should give profound thanks this year is the success of environmental action at stopping or slowing the killing of many endangered marine mammals. As a result, populations of humpback whales, bowhead whales, gray whales, and other species are now rebuilding. But this Thanksgiving, one of the world’s 78 cetacean species still faces its do-or-die moment.

The vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California, is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Fewer than 100 exist in the wild. Without drastic and immediate action, this species will almost certainly go the way of the Chinese river dolphin, or baiji—declared extinct after a 2006 survey of the Yangtze River turned up zero dolphins. It was the only cetacean humans are known to have snuffed out: a global moment of infamy, not just for China, but for us all. In a final effort not to share that shame, Mexico is expected to announce this week a last desperate effort to save the vaquita.

The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is a strange and elusive creature, only discovered by scientists in 1958.  It grows to a length of four feet, has a blunt, balloon-like face, and lives by feeding on fish and crustaceans in the shallow waters of the Gulf. People almost never see them alive. Vaquita sightings occur

Read the rest of this entry »

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Spectacular New Dolphin Species Discovered

Posted by Richard Conniff on October 29, 2013

This new species somehow managed to go unnoticed.

This new species somehow managed to go unnoticed.

Just the other week I was talking about how giant species unknown to science keeping turning up, and now a pretty one–and a pretty big one, at that–has turned up in sight of land, off the coast of Australia.

Here’s the press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society, and also check out a few more lovely photos below:

A species of humpback dolphin previously unknown to science is swimming in the waters off northern Australia, according to a team of researchers working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Biodiversity, The Species Seekers | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »