Saturday September 18 at 5 PM Michelle Nijhuis presents Beloved Beasts. Audience will be limited to 25 vaccinated attendees. Sunriver Nature Center has also been getting the word out about the author event. People with an interest in the natural world will find this book fascinating.
Species across the globe are imperiled as loss of habitat, hunting, environmental degradation and a host of human causes take a toll. We are losing species. We are failing to live in harmony with the wilderness. Beloved Beasts is a hopeful book as it tells of people who individually changed the course of impending harm to a variety of species. It is a book that proves an individual can make a difference.
Beloved Beasts starts out with the Smithsonian and an exploration of the way species are named. From there it goes to William Temple Hornaday who was a big game hunter in the 1800’s then proved that people can change by switching allegiances to become a man dedicated to the preservation of animals and a force to be reckoned with in conservation. While he wasn’t too good with people, he was passionate about animals. Vast herds of Buffalo used to roam the plains. They were slaughtered by hunters for sport. Congress recognized the danger of decimating the buffalo and tried to act. But President Grant would have none of it. He believed Native Americans could be subdued if their source of food was eliminated. Hornaday switched from hunting bison, to fighting to save them.
Socialite Rosalie Edge took up the cause of defending birds (bird lovers will be enchanted). Her particular concern was raptors. Sportsmen liked shooting raptors. Farmers put a bounty on the raptors, considering them vermin. Rosalie was appalled, and when this wealthy woman was upset, she took action. There was a particular mountain in Pennsylvania where the raptors liked to hang out and the sportsmen liked to shoot them. Rosalie simply bought the mountain and put a stop to the hunting. She prodded the Audubon society into action, she protested, she made a joyful noise in fierce determination to save the birds.
There is a lot of history, abundant information on wildlife, the way we are all intertwined, and stories of people time should not forget.