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Review of Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife [Scientists in the Field]
by Amy Cherrix
Middle School    Houghton    73 pp.    g
10/18    978-1-328-85868-9    $18.99

The human population of western North Carolina is encroaching on the natural habitat of the region’s black bears. In this encouraging case study of efforts to manage black bear populations in and around Asheville, Cherrix emphasizes how conservationists are looking for sustainable ways to allow humans and wild animals to coexist. She accompanies a team of biologists conducting the North Carolina Urban/Suburban Black Bear Study as they locate a bear and her newborn cub (using radio collars and with the cooperation of the homeowners) on private property. The scientists anesthetize the adult bear and document her vital statistics as well as those of her cub. Photographs capture the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain environment and the care the scientists take in collecting data. Photos of children in contact with an anesthetized bear may raise some eyebrows but underscore the message that respectful coexistence is possible (and cautions on how to handle bear encounters are included in the back matter). In contrast to human-bear interactions from the last century, today’s collaborative efforts among scientists, residents, conservationists, and hunters acknowledge the importance of balancing the concerns of all parties. A chapter on wild animal populations in other communities, from leopards in urban Mumbai to feral chickens in Hawaii, emphasizes the global nature of the problem. Appended with web resources, a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, and an index.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford About Danielle J. Ford

Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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