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Island Press Staff Picks - Tibet Wild

Today's pick, Tibet Wild, is from our Editorial Assistant, Rebecca Bright.

No Island Press book has made me want to quit my job more than my staff pick, Tibet Wild—and considering how excited I was to start work at Island, that’s a tall order. In 2011, as a new member of the Editorial team, one of my first tasks was to sort through scores of George Schaller’s photos to help him select 32 for the color insert of his new book.

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The photos are a lovely complement to Schaller’s account of his fieldwork and conservation efforts in Tibet, spanning 30 years of his expeditions in the region. They showcase the ecological diversity of the area, from burrowing pika to herds of chiru, or antelope, and offer a glimpse into the lives of Tibet’s human inhabitants. There’s nothing quite like holding a slide up to the light and gazing into the eyes of a Tibetan herdsman or camouflaged snow leopard to remind you that the world is much larger than your Dupont Circle office. How can I get there, and how soon can I go? I wondered.

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Obviously, I didn’t drop everything to become a traveling naturalist. But Tibet Wild brings these experiences to life for more rooted readers like myself, as Schaller describes the struggles and victories of life as a field biologist in some of the most remote country in the world. The book is also an inspiring story of conservation: as the impact of climate change and human development became more widespread, Schaller realized that being a biologist was no longer enough—he had to work with local communities to become an advocate for the wildlife of the region.

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I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did (but don’t quit your day job). Here is an excerpt from Tibet Wild, detailing one of Schaller’s many expeditions to discover the chiru’s elusive calving grounds.

Get Tibet Wild for 50% off at Offer valid until October 28th!