2007 Winner: Young Adult Science Book
Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations, by Eric Dinerstein. Island Press, 2006.
Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations is a quiet, unassuming book that can (and should!) be savored on many levels. In it, author Eric Dinerstein presents a series of autobiographical chapters about his experiences in the wild and unique places of the world: Nepal and Costa Rica, New Caledonia and the Galápagos Islands, Venezuela, Tanzania, and even Montana. Each essay is enjoyable as narrative, with the author recounting his encounters with people and efforts to preserve wild places and wild things. Each chapter is unique, too, as the author addresses the critical issues associated with wildlife and wild lands conservation today-protection for endangered species, the protection of habitats, the destruction and fragmentation of habitats by humans, and, finally, the restoration and repopulation of ecosystems-all key concepts and each fundamental to an understanding of how conservation really works. The reader will emerge with a broad perspective of what is involved in conservation today and how a few dedicated individuals have made (and are continuing to make) a difference. I recommend this book highly as a gentle, entertaining (and nonpedantic) introduction to the conservation of wildlife and wild places.
About the Author
Eric Dinerstein is a die-hard adventurer who has traveled the world practicing conservation on the frontlines - working on everything from snow leopards in northern India to tigers in Nepal to fruit bats in Costa Rica. He led the first team to identify every ecoregion on the planet and define the most biologically important of those, a framework called the Global 200 that now guides World Wildlife Fund's fieldwork in more than 100 countries.
His first love, though, is the rhinos of Nepal and India, living remnants of the world's prehistoric age. Eric began researching the wildlife of Nepal's lowland jungles as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1975. Besides studying the biology of large wide-ranging mammals, he has championed the idea of looking at protection beyond the boundaries of the park and considering how to protect the rhinos and their habitat at the larger landscape level. Considered groundbreaking at the time, this approach is now standard practice for large-mammal conservation. Eric also was an ardent advocate of forming partnerships with local communities to ensure their support in protecting the species.
Eric got his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and did his post-doc in Nepal with the Smithsonian Institution. He is author or coauthor of over three dozen peer-reviewed articles and nine books, especially related to eco-regional assessments world-wide, and Asian conservation issues. He is Chief of Conservation Science and Vice-President for Research at World Wildlife Fund in D.C.