If global warming continues to raise earth's temperatures and disrupt its natural systems, how will the animals living in the planet's most remote regions adapt to the changes? That's the question at the heart of Joel Berger's fascinating Extreme Conservation: Life at the Edges of the World. The conservation biologist travels to remote and frozen landscapes to collect as much data on the animals and their changing environments as conditions allow.
In clear and accessible prose, Berger (The Better to Eat You With: Fear in the Animal World) describes his trips to the frozen Chukchi Sea to study the diminishing population of musk oxen; to the Bhutanese Himalayas to observe a rare goat-antelope species called takins; and to the Gobi Desert to learn what he can of the critically endangered saiga antelope. He encounters extreme temperatures, dangerous wild animals and, sadly, further evidence that climate change is on track to leave many ecosystems uninhabitable for the already imperiled animals that live in them.
Berger's tales are as compassionate as they are exciting to read. For example: when his experiment involving putting tracking collars on Arctic musk oxen results in the death of some of the herd, he considers the possibility that they're sentient, and seeks to find more humane means of gathering data. Extreme Conservation is a moving and necessary look at what the Earth will lose if climate change is left unchecked. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor