Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction by Michelle Nijhuis

This title is part of BHA's Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists


Let me first be clear: This is not a book about despair or tragic endings. It is not a book of environmental alarmism or an impassioned call-to-action to save the wolves and the whales. It's a concise and carefully researched book about people. 

Whether you're a fan of him and his music or not, Bob Dylan once said something none of us can really deny, "The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.” Michele Nijhus' Beloved Beasts is not so much a book about specific instances of extinction or near-extinction of various species, but more about the survival of human "experience and notions." It is a deeper dive into the oftentimes unlikely pioneers of the modern conservation movement, some of whose names we are already familiar with (because they authored the other readings found in this digital library). 

Using her own background as a biologist, Nijhus reveals the lesser known characters that contributed to conservation organizations that persist today. The book's true selling point is the common thread that is woven into the lessons from human notions and experiences with a nod toward how to use these lessons and the one thing people really have in common, to choose sanity and cooperation over extinction.

I like this book because the author doesn't smack you upside the head with her own opinions or agenda as it relates to conservation history. It's exactly the type of book we need right now at a time when so many ideas are drowned out by whose side you're on.

-MIKE WILLIS, BHA member, Alaska


Purchase Beloved Beasts on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred nonprofit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor

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