is the fourth publication by Conservation International and Agrupacion Sierra Madre and sponsored by CEMEX, an international cement company that has become a conservation leader in the corporate arena. Wildlife Spectacles follows the successful trilogy of the Megadiversity, Hotspots and Wilderness Books.
In this new book, the authors look at conservation in a somewhat different way than in the earlier books, highlighting large congregations of animals we call "Wildlife Spectacles", which have captured the attention of our own species and fascinated us since the beginning of time.
Imagine vast flocks of migratory birds so enormous that they block out the sun, schools of herring or anchovies so large and dense that the ocean appears to be more fish than water, wildebeest migrations on the plains of Africa that stretch to the horizon, monarch butterflies that cover trees in Mexico as if they were gaily colored leaves, free-tailed bats exploding out of caves in Texas in vast, almost incalculable numbers.
The innate appeal of such amazing wildlife spectacles has stimulated the production of a host of books and films over the past century, and has done much to keep inhabitants of an increasingly urban world in touch with nature. However, despite the profound impact that they have on human consciousness, remarkably little has been done to highlight the conservation importance of these congregations and they have been much overlooked in the discussion of global conservation strategies.
In Wildlife Spectacles, we begin the process of incorporating this issue into global conservation planning for biodiversity conservation by surveying nature for such congregations. Although some congregatory species have very limited ranges and occur in only very small areas such that they are picked up through other priority-setting activities, others are widespread and normally non-threatened "common" species that might be ignored by conservation strategies. Nonetheless, they may face significant extinction threats during times when a large proportion of their population congregates in a few sites.
Conservation of congregatory species first requires cataloguing these species, and then identifying those sites at which their congregations occur. Aside from trying to initiate this analysis, this book seeks to stimulate further research into threats to congregatory species and ways in which we can ensure their long-term persistence.
Wildlife Spectacles includes a detailed introduction and 36 chapters highlighting those species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates that form some of the most amazing spectacles.
The authors hope that this book, by identifying and highlighting some of the greatest natural wonders of our planet, will stimulate wildlife enthusiasts everywhere to become more involved in the cause of biodiversity conservation around the world.
Wildlife Spectacles can be purchased online from The University of Chicago Press. To order follow this link to The University of Chicago Press.