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review The Hunt for the Golden MoleThis book is one man s opinion and ideas surrounding history and "Wildlife Conservation Covering Widely "conservation covering widely topics from trophy hunting to poaching taxonomy and the history practice of conservation And oh there is the uest to find the few pieces of skull of the only specimen of the Somali golden mole ever to have been collected but that is only an excuse to launch into lengthy discussions of the aforementioned topics To say the book lacks focus is a huge understatement I found it to be rambling and directionless going off on various subjects seemingly at random The reader will likely find a few of these interesting enough if encountered for the first time such as the history of big game and ivory hunting in Africa or how community run nature conservancies work in practice As a whole though it was tough slogging through the long chapters with no ultimate conclusion other than the author s final pilgrimage to a museum in Italy to meet the titular subject Like a lot of books hung on a hook in this case the author s search for a species of mole only known from a couple of bits of bone in an owl pellet there is a vague sense here that the thing isn t uite a cohesive whole nor a collection of linked essays There are some splendid gems like the beeswax eating bird whose stomach enzymes break down tuberculosis but sadly what will linger is the howl of despair against a world in which species are being wiped out by mankind s seething stupidity I really liked this book I loved Richard s historical look at how naturalists perceived the natural world around them and how they interacted with it Ack If anyone acted that way today they would be denounced at the minimum Didn t finish the book Didn t seem like I needed to From Victorian animal collecting to present day poaching Girling surveys the contradictory human instincts toward exploitation and preservation of mammals The book is rather scattered with too. This story is a uest for an animal so rare that a sighting has never been recordedThe Somali golden mole was first described in 1964 but the sole evidence for its existence is a tiny fragment of jawbone found in an owl pellet Intrigued by this elusive crea. Little about the actual uest for the mole "but the message about species extinction is powerful "the message about species extinction is powerful Somali golden mole has never been seen in the wild except as a few bones in an owl pellet found by an Italian zoologist in 1964 For some reason it captured Girling s imagination becoming a symbol of rarity and fragilitySee my full review at The BookbagI would recommend The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert and A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson over this one Picked this up at the library without ever having heard of it The novel concerns the author s search for the rare golden mole which has never been observed but parts of which had been previously found in an owl pellet More than that however the book concerns itself with the history of hunting issues of biodiversity and humanity s challenging relationship with animals "i found the information interesting and it did "found the information interesting and it did me pause to think about the need to biodiversity in general This book read very much like an extended magazine article which makes sense because the author is a journalist Girling s description of his search for bones of the Somali golden mole bones that were found only once in an owl pellet in 1964 makes for a powerful metaphor but his freuent lengthy digressions about extinct and endangered species are far interesting and compelling A thoughtful and provocative elegy to living things 45Imagine a work colleague asking ou what A Feast of Freud you were going to do forour summer holidays and The Mallen Girl you replied thatou were off to Africa to shoot a few elephants tigers and possible even a rhino Ridiculous and appalling of course but
It Wasn T Longwasn t long that holiday snaps would feature hunters standing proudly next to their killAnd not long ago that giraffes were shot purely because their tails made good fly swishesI wouldn t classify myself as particularly animal loving but to read about the hundreds of species that are hurtling towards extinction is truly shock. Ture and what it can tell us about extinction and survival Richard Girling embarks on a hunt to find the animal and its discoverer an Italian professor who he thinks might still be aliveRichard's journey comes at a time when one species our own is having Ing Of course the public get behind campaigns to save the iconic and usually large creatures such as elephants and whales But Girling argues that everything from the tiniest shrew or insect is eually as importantHis book starts off with a mission to find out about the Somali Golden Mole This creature s very existence is to be found purely down to a fragment of jawbone found in an owl pelletGirling is a wonderful story teller with a passionate belief in the importance of "Every Living Thing However Big Or Small His Voice Remains "living thing however big or small His voice remains until we reach the chapter on ivory a chapter that made me want to weep He apologises at the end I m afraid that my voice in this chapter may have become somewhat shrill This book made a huge impact on me I finish some books and instantly forget them as I move onto the next But this one will stay with me I suspected that this would not be terribly scientific and I was right It was interesting but felt repetitive at times It took me a long time to finish this partly because it just felt like pages upon pages of the same points reiterated The descriptions "Of Ol Pejeta Were Great "Ol Pejeta were great and it is obvious that the author cares a lot for wildlife and its conservation That being said this is much a layman s book though I hate that term than an academic science Swimming In The Flood y one While this book makes some very good points I was really hoping for something that focused on living golden moles and other animals rather than the history of killing animals for science However books that bring awareness to little known animals such as golden moles are generally helpful in their conservation so I would still recommend this I really enjoyed the author s writing style it felt like I was along for the ride down a rabbit hole He provided a fascinating history of collecting specimens for research and taxonomy and managed to condense a pretty expansive way of thinking about endangered species particularly mammals. O reconsider its relationship with every other He delves into the history of exploration and cataloguing and the tall tales of the great hunters traces the development of the conservation movement and addresses central issues of extinction and biodiversity.