New Book | The Kingdom of Rarities

The Kingdom of Rarities

Praise for The Kingdom of Rarities:

“Eric Dinerstein’s engaging new book [is a]…zoological travelogue, observing rare species across the planet and contemplating, as he does so, why rarity is profoundly important for our understanding of nature and our efforts to conserve it.”

Stuart Pimm, Nature

 “Dinerstein captures this innate fascination in a worldwide tour of exotic places and spectacular species, from jaguars in the Amazon to birds of paradise in New Guinea. Along the way, he weaves in lessons in ecology as well as passionate calls for conservation action.”

— Conservation Magazine

“Dinerstein's book offers a kaleidoscopic and highly entertaining picture of some of the world's most remote and diverse ecological hotspots.”

— Earth Island Journal


Washington, DC (January 2013) — When you look out your window, why are you so much more likely to see a robin or a sparrow than a Kirtland’s warbler or a California condor? In other words, why are some plants and animals rare and others common? That’s the question Eric Dinerstein poses in his new book, The Kingdom of Rarities. Dinerstein, Lead Scientist and Vice President of Conservation Science at World Wildlife Fund-US, has spent three decades studying and working to protect rare species around the globe, particularly tigers, rhinoceroses, and elephants.


In this book, he offers an ode to some of the rarest species on the planet. As he shares the stories of various species and his treks to the ends of the earth to catch a glimpse of them, he gives readers a deep appreciation for these animals, their ecological importance, and the urgent need for their conservation.


While it’s easy to be carried away by Dinerstein’s adventures and his beautiful prose, The Kingdom of Rarities has a deeper message. He argues that a better scientific understanding of why some species are rare can guide us to more effective ways of protecting all types of life—rare and common alike. Relying on the latest scientific techniques and guided by experts in the field, he considers factors like animals’ physical isolation, disparate populations, and pickiness when choosing a home or a food supply as well as habitat loss, invasive species, and human wars.


Although each rarity faces a unique set of circumstances, study of the species he searches out, including jaguars, maned wolves, and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, offer insight into their already rare cousins and those common species that soon may find themselves becoming rare.


As more and more species teeter on the brink, The Kingdom of Rarities offers a unique combination of travel adventures, science, and fascination with the beauty of the natural world. Dinerstein’s stories are food for thought as he ponders the cause of rarity and calls for a deeper appreciation of all the species that shape our planet. Most important, he offers hope that we can keep many of them from leaving it forever.




Eric Dinerstein is Lead Scientist and Vice President of Conservation Science at World Wildlife Fund-US. Over the past forty years he has studied bears, rhinos, tigers, bats, and plants and many other creatures around the globe, and he remains active in the conservation of rare species. He has published over one hundred scientific papers and several books, including The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros and Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations. In 2007, Tigerland won the American Association for the Advancement of Science's award for science writing, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.