________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 10 . . . . January 4, 2007


Bear Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife. (Firefly Animal Rescue).

Keltie Thomas.
Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2006.
64 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55297921-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55297922-8 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Bears-Juvenile literature.
Endangered species-Juvenile literature.
Wildlife conservation-Juvenile literature.           

Grades 5-10 / Ages 10-15.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***½ /4


Human activity can run bears right off the land. When people use chainsaws and bulldozers to clear vast areas for farming, forestry or buildings, they leave the area uninhabitable for bears. As people extract oil and gas from the ground, they often disturb and destroy bear habitat. What's more, the roads and highways they build to access these areas may make bear country more accessible to hunters and land developers.

Human beings and bears occupy the same niche, or role in the world's ecosystems. We compete for the same land to live on, the same plants and animals to eat, and the same water to drink. People are moving farther and farther into the wilderness, and conflict with humans has become a dangerous threat to bear's survival.


Each year, regular news reports of bears frequenting urban/forest interface areas in Canada seem to dispel the idea that this group of mammals could be in any danger of becoming extinct. The research in this latest book of the “Firefly Animal Rescue” series shows that is not the case for all species of bears. The largest world population is the black bear, at around 500,000. The other extreme, the sun bears of Indonesia, have an unknown population. Pandas may be reduced to about 1000 individuals. Polar bears that roam the vast Arctic could be gone in the next 30 to 50 years. This books points out that bears worldwide have been victims of shrinking habitat and encroaching humans since 3000 BC. Throughout their history, bears have had "virtually no predators except for humans."

     Found on every continent except Africa and Australia, most bear species need huge ranges to find enough food. Technology has assisted researchers in gathering data that facilitates their work to ensure a future for bears on earth. The accounts of projects to this end are presented in this book in easy-to-read detail with a focus on the personal involvement and commitment of individuals. Find out about the difficulty of monitoring spectacled bears in Ecuador and sloth bears in India. Discover the shocking details of inhumane treatment of bears kept on bile farms in China. In each case, dedicated scientists are hard at work to effect a positive outcome. The same is happening for grizzlies in the North American Rockies and polar bears in the Arctic. Learn about the role of zoos in captive breeding. The people on the front lines of bear research are doing their best to preserve and increase current bear populations.

     This series of books on endangered species has consistently offered up-to-date research, high quality photographs, and a highly readable writing style. Add this latest title to your collection.

Highly Recommended.

A freelance writer and former teacher-librarian, Gillian Richardson lives in BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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