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  • Richard Conniff

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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 ‘Lumber Liquidators’

Wildlife Has A Kind Word for a Hedge Fund Manager

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 27, 2016

A Siberian tiger in the forests of Primorskii province near Vladivostok, Russia. (Photo: Animal Press/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

A Siberian tiger in the forests of Primorskii province near Vladivostok, Russia. (Photo: Animal Press/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

This is my latest for, a follow-up on last week’s New York Times column about illegal logging by Lumber Liquidators:

Everybody hates hedge fund managers, and even hedge fund managers don’t much like the short sellers among them. Short sellers are a peculiar breed who scrupulously avoid the happy talk that dominates the rest of the market. Instead, they specialize in ferreting out corporate bad behavior. Then they bet that the sins of such a company will sooner or later come out, causing the stock to collapse. This makes them about as popular as a fundamentalist preacher at a Mardi Gras parade. They are also not above public shaming to make a stock collapse sooner.

You might think this has nothing to do with wildlife. Let me fill in some background. In October 2013, the Environmental Investigation Agency, a conservation nonprofit, went public with the results of a five-year investigation in the Russian Far East. The forests there are the only habitat of the world’s last wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.

The tigers in particular have been the focus of a 25-year conservation effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund, and their Russian counterparts. At a cost of about $7 million so far, that effort has succeeded in increasing the populations to about 500 tigers and 50 leopards. Each tiger needs hundreds of square miles of forest, and the biggest threat to their survival comes from illegal logging of that forest.

The EIA undercover agents had gone into the area posing as lumber buyers. They saw where the illegal logging was happening. Then they followed the wood back to a factory in China that was the single largest buyer. There they saw (and videotaped) former tiger habitat being turned into living room floors and packed in boxes labeled

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conservation and Extinction | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

In A Russian Forest: The High Cost of Our Discount Prices

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 20, 2016

From tiger habitat to your living room floor (Photo by Anatoly Kabanets / WWF-Russia)

From tiger habitat to your living room floor, via Lumber Liquidators (Photo by Anatoly Kabanets / WWF-Russia)

My latest for The New York Times:

I HAVE loved wood and the smell of sawdust ever since I was a child and got to wander among the open sheds and in earshot of the whine of the tablesaw at the local lumberyard. But for years now I have had a sick feeling every time I shop for almost anything made of wood. The prices are often unbelievably good, but then I notice the words “Made in Vietnam,” or some other country where illegal logging is demolishing forests at appalling speed, largely for the United States and European markets.

So I was pleased when I read this month that a federal judge had approved a criminal settlement in just such a logging case. But I was also disappointed that the settlement imposed no jail sentences and fined Lumber Liquidators just $13.1 million, pocket change for the largest retailer of hardwood flooring in the United States. The crime, a felony, was importing and selling flooring, via China, that was illegally logged in the forests of Russia’s Far East.

Lumber Liquidators is of course more notorious for Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Conservation and Extinction | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »