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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 ‘reclamation’

China’s New Great Wall Threatens One Quarter of World’s Shorebirds

Posted by Richard Conniff on November 20, 2014

Bar-tailed Godwits roost at a key refueling spot on their northward migration.  That is the fill that will turn this site in Yalujiang, Liaoning Province, China,   into dry land. (Photo:  David Melville)

Voyage of the Doomed: Bar-tailed Godwits roost at a key refueling spot on their northward migration. That plume is the fill that will turn this site in Yalujiang, Liaoning Province, China, into dry land. (Photo: David Melville)

Every spring, tens of thousands of plump, russet-breasted shorebirds drop down onto the wetlands of China’s Bohai Bay, ravenous after traveling 3,000 miles from Australia. This Yellow Sea stopover point is crucial for the birds, called red knots, to rest and refuel for the second leg of their journey, which will take them another 2,000 miles up to the Arctic tundra.

Unfortunately for the red knots, the intertidal flats of Bohai Bay are rapidly disappearing, cut off from the ocean by new sea walls and filled in with silt and rock, to create buildable land for development.  In a society now relentlessly focused on short-term profit that seems like a wonderful bargain, and the collateral loss of vast areas of shorebird habitat merely an incidental detail. As a result, China’s seawall mileage has more than tripled over the past two decades, and now covers 60 percent of the mainland coastline. This “new Great Wall” is already longer than the celebrated Great Wall of China, according to an article published Thursday in Science, and it’s just getting bigger every year—with catastrophic consequences for wildlife and people.

“Reclamation” is what they still call it, a term dating from an era when pretty much everyone thought wetlands were useless, stinking, swampy places of no possible benefit to people. Or Read the rest of this entry »

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