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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 ‘Key Largo’

Captive Breeding No Help Where Housecats Are Free to Kill

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 29, 2014

(Photo: Rob & Ann Simpson/Getty Images)
(Photo: Rob & Ann Simpson/Getty Images)

My latest, for Takepart:

In tales of the cat and the rat, society has almost always taken the side of the cat. That has largely continued to be the case in Key Largo, Fla.—with disastrous results for wildlife. The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge there is one of Florida’s last remaining stands of hardwood hammock forest and home to two highly endangered mammal subspecies—the Key Largo wood rat and the Key Largo cotton mouse.

Right next door to the refuge is a gated community called the Ocean Reef Club, largely developed since the 1960s. Many of its wealthy residents believe they have a right not just to let their own cats roam free but also to feed and care for stray or feral cats in the area. The home owners have maintained that cats do no damage and that roaming free is simply natural for cats. Camera traps have repeatedly shown the cats climbing onto the wood rats’ nests, waiting, and leaping to the attack. Even talking about the effect of house cats on native wild rats has, however, become such an emotional issue that a new study in the journal Biological Conservation carefully avoids ever even mentioning the word “cat.”

Instead, University of Florida wildlife ecologist Robert McCleery and his coauthors focus on the elaborate efforts people have made to save the wood rat from extinction, in spite of the cats. Their results suggest that what had seemed to be the best hope for recovery—a captive breeding and release program—may offer no hope at all. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began taking wood rats from the wild in 2002, to establish the first Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conservation and Extinction | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »