Wildlife Heroes by Julie Scardina & Jeff Flocken

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2012:

Wildlife Heroes  by Julie Scardina & Jeff Flocken
Running Press (2300 Chestnut St., Suite 200, Philadelphia,  PA
19103),  2012.  264 pages,  paperback.  $20.00.

Wildlife Heroes co-authors Julie Scardina and Jeff Flocken
profile 40 people who do extraordinary things for animals.  Nguyen
Van Thai,  for example,  as a youth in Vietnam watched people dig up
pangolins,  a small Asian animal sometimes called a scaly ant-eater.
Prized for meat and scales believed to have medicinal value,
pangolins have become the most often poached mammals in Asia,  and
are rapidly being extirpated from much of their range.
“As I watched the juvenile climb onto the back of its mother
I was very sad,  knowing they were headed for the cooking pot,”
recalls Van Thai.

After attending forestry school,  Van Thai opened a small
pangolin rescue center outside Cuc Phuong National Park.  Working
diligently with authorities to combat the illegal trade in pangolins.
Van Thai’s determination has inspired the opening of two more
pangolin rescue centers.

American Steve Galster didn’t start out in wildlife rescue.
Rather,  he tracked down black market operations that smuggled guns,
drugs,  and other illicit goods.  In 1991 the Environmental
Investigation Agency employed Galster to look into an African
smuggling ring that dealt with weapons and wildlife.  Discovering a
thriving illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horns sweeping
through southern Africa,  Galster transferred his investigative
skills to anti-poaching work,  exposing links between commerce in
products such as bear bile,  shark fins,  and tropical orchids,  and
more traditional branches of organized crime.  The illegal wildlife
traffic,  worldwide,  is believed to be worth at least $20 billion

Galster’s passion for protecting wildlife was featured in a
2007 CNN series called Planet in Peril. He hosted Animal Planet’s
Crime Scene Wild and was seen in National Geographic’s television
series Crimes Against Nature.

Wildlife Heroes is an uplifting set of stories,  offering
hope for change.  Profiled are people who dedicate their lives to
saving such species as flamingos in South America, Mongolian wild
horses,  and gorillas in central Africa. Each two-to-three page story
draws the reader into the life of the profile subject,  and the lives
of the animals being saved.

How sad that so many beautiful creatures are threatened
because of greed, ignorance and vanishing habitat.
–Debra J. White.

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