From environmental writer EMMA MARRIS, a groundbreaking and provocative new vision for our relationships with--and responsibilities toward--the planet's wild animals.
What do we owe wild animals? What is the right relationship to the nonhuman world? When is it right to capture or feed wild animals for the good of their species? How do we balance the rights of introduced species with those already established within an ecosystem? Should we kill introduced predators to save rare species? Can hunting be ecological? Are any animals truly wild on a planet that humans have so thoroughly changed? No clear guidelines yet exist to help us resolve such questions.
Transporting readers into the field with scientists tackling these profound challenges, Emma Marris tells the affecting and inspiring stories of animals around the globe--from Peruvian monkeys to Australian bilbies, rare Hawai'ian birds to majestic Oregon wolves. And she offers a companionable, easy-to-understand tour of the philosophical ideas that may steer our search for sustainability and justice in the non-human world. Revealing just how intertwined animal life and human life really are, Wild Souls will change the way we think about nature-and our place within it.
Praise for WILD SOULS
“Thoughtful, insightful, and wise, Wild Souls is a landmark work. With thorough reporting and piercing moral clarity, Emma Marris forces us to think deeply about every aspect of our relationship with wild animals, and what the concept of wild-ness even means. It should be a guidepost for our thoughts and actions for decades to come.”
— Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes
“Where do wild animals fit in a human- dominated world? The answer, for better or worse, will be determined by humans. Emma Marris’s exploration of this question is at once thoughtful, thought- provoking, and thoroughly absorbing.”
— Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize- winning author of The Sixth Extinction and Under a White Sky
“What is wildness? How do we resolve conflicts between the needs of individual animals and the work of preserving species? Wild Souls asks readers to think deeply about these and other important questions around our relationship with wildlife. Everybody who cares about animals should read this fascinating book.”
— Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
“In this profound and philosophical book, Emma Marris examines the fiction of a primeval world untouched by human intervention. We have messed with the world in such complex ways that the notion of wildness is at best speculative and at worst entirely artificial: wildness is permitted to exist in designated areas; animals are bred in captivity to repopulate what were once their natural habitats; endangered species are tagged and followed, prioritized over others. In luminous, captivating prose, Marris plumbs the contradictions of our often foolish attach-ment to the world not as it is, but as we would like to imagine it into being. This is a deeply felt and deeply thought book, brimming with compassion and rue, that throws out revelations like a stream of arrows, each one aimed at the very heart of the matter.”
— Andrew Solomon, National Book Award- winning author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree
“In Wild Souls, Marris asks the thorny, necessary questions for our time: What exactly is our responsibility to the wild(- ish) animals in the world, and why is it so uncomfortable to figure it out? She challenges us not only to do the ‘right’ things, but to be our most humane selves in the process. This is the best thinking- and- feeling person’s guide to sharing the planet that I know.”
— Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix
“In this masterpiece of environmental philosophy, Emma Marris cross- examines every claim and subverts every shibboleth of modern conservation. Wild Souls brings razor-sharp reasoning and unflinching moral clarity to a field that occasionally suffers from fuzzy logic. This is a book meant to be argued with, in the best possible sense.”
— Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
“Like many others, Emma Marris loves wild nature. But unlike most of us, she thinks hard about what words like ‘wild’ and ‘nature’ mean. As Marris journeys from Northwest wolves to rats in New Zealand, she finds answers that are as fascinating as they are unexpected.”
— Charles C. Mann, author of 1491 and The Wizard and the Prophet
“Eloquently, skillfully, Emma Marris wrestles with the dilemmas that define our relationships with animals and the environment, emerging with provocative but necessary answers. I dare any nature- lover to read this book and not come away profoundly changed.”
— Douglas W. Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park, and Project Leader for the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project
“Through stories that marry adventure and philosophy, Emma Marris works to reconcile the jarring truth that sacrificing individual animals is sometimes the only way to save entire species. Ultimately, Wild Souls proposes a new framework for resolving the moral dilemmas that arise as we try to be good stewards of a thoroughly humanized world.”
— Beth Shapiro, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, and author of How to Clone a Mammoth
“Wild Souls challenges us to be better citizens of the planet. How do we think about our relationship to other living things on Earth? With an epic sweep worthy of the subject, Emma Marris links cutting- edge science with deep compassion to provide us tools for approaching the decades ahead.”
— Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish and Some Assembly Required