The Hunt for the Golden Mole eBook à for the ePUB

The Hunt for the Golden Mole 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 creature 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 to 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 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 45Imagine a work colleague asking you what you were going to do for your summer holidays and you replied that you were off to Africa to shoot a few elephants tigers and possible even a rhino Ridiculous and appalling of course – but it wasn’t long ago 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 shocking 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 steady 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 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 little about the actual uest for the mole but the message about species extinction is powerful The 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 This book is one man's opinion and ideas surrounding natural history and wildlife conservation covering widely disparate topics from trophy hunting to poaching taxonomy and the history and 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

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