Tenacious Beasts

At the end of my previous book, The Synthetic Age, I told a story about a worker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. I ended a book about the future this way intentionally. I wanted to emphasize that even the potent technologies described in The Synthetic Age were destined to fall short. The world would still startle us. It retained the power to push back against our best-laid plans.

My new book takes this thought much further. Tenacious Beasts is filled with hope about wildlife recoveries. It profiles a handful of species recovering beyond all expectations in a technological age. Wolves in Europe, bison on America’s Great Plains, humpback whales in the Pacific and North Atlantic are among an array of species experiencing a remarkable comeback. I dig into a dozen stories about animals flourishing despite the continuing waves of bad news.

If wildlife successes are provocative to think about ecologically, they are even more exciting to consider philosophically. Returning wildlife makes demands of minds accustomed to living without animals. They force changes in perspective and shifts in values. This is no longer the nineteenth century when wildlife were eradicated thoughtlessly by developing nations. It is time for a twenty-first-century concept of wildlife to emerge.

This book charts the contours of an optimistic future with wildlife. It envisions a fresh way to live alongside the natural world. Returning animals will change us. And not just in the ways you think.

Image by Garrett Lau via Flickr