Some of you may remember last year when we were lucky enough to be able to interview the wildlife conservationist Lori Robinson. Since then Lori has been busy writing an exciting new book called Wild Lives, and now she is back to chat with us again! Lori’s book draws on stories from 20 of the worlds most experienced and influential conservationists, and it is a must read if you are in any way interested in animal welfare. We were extremely interested in finding out more about a book which brings together the work of so many different conservationists, so we asked Lori a series of questions to delve a little deeper.
What inspired you to write this book?
The elephants, wolves, giraffes and penguins. The lions, bears and dolphins. They, and all of the non-human beings we share this earth with, inspired me. Also the people in Wild Lives inspired me. As Carl Safina says in the foreword, “When a species doesn’t go extinct, when birds still migrate, where giraffes still run and lions still rule and elephants continue trumpeting to the sky—it’s because of [people like the ones in this book].” They have been mentors in my work at SavingWild.com, and I wrote Wild Lives so others could also be inspired by their passion, determination and wisdom.
Which conservationist did you gain the most from interviewing and what can be learned from their work?
After each interview for Wild Lives I enthusiastically ranted to Janie Chodosh (my co-author who turned the interviews into stories for this book) about how wonderful that person is. I did that after each and every interview - all 20 people in the book. I can’t choose just one. They are ALL amazing.
Many of these people have been thrown in jail and thrown out of countries, are hated by hunters and hunted by rebels. They work in some of the remotest areas in the world, in all kinds of weather. They have used sea ice for a pillow, been charged by elephants, bitten by snakes, and chased by rhino. All of them are breaking boundaries, trying new ways of doing things, and challenging the status quo.
I learned that with passion and determination anyone can achieve just about anything.
What is the overriding message you took from all of your research regarding animal conservation?
Animal conservationists face many obstacles and challenges but they also have great rewards and satisfaction in their work. Animal conservation can and does work.
Even if we don't choose a career in animal conservation, each of us must do our part for saving animals.
Were there any particular stand-out memories from your time writing the book?
At the end of my interview with world renowned conservationist Dr. George Schaller I started crying because of all he has done for wildlife. He was a field researcher before Jane Goodall, and was at the forefront of saving gorillas, lions, panda and many more species. Yet he is so low key that the younger generation of conservationists may not know his name. But they need to. At age 83 he still spends months in the field every year working to protect China’s high Tibetan plateau. His story in the book is full of wisdom.
Why should people get involved in animal conservation?
I agree with a statement in the book by Thomas Lovejoy. “If something’s not gone, that means it can still be saved.” I don’t want to live in a world without elephants, bears and bees. Yet that is where we are headed unless every single one of us does our part. “Where precisely you start is less important than just starting and finding good mentors,” Lovejoy adds.
How can people get involved in animal conservation?
Each of the 20 conservationists answers that question in Wild Lives so you can gain a lot of helpful ideas by reading the book.
I would add that if you aren’t planning on devoting your career to animal conservation, devote your lifestyle to it. Share your space with rabbits, deer and spiders, remove fences, and put out water for wildlife. Backyard habitats can provide some of the connectivity and re-wilding so needed by wildlife. Also, volunteer through programs like the ones offered by The Great Projects. If we all do these things we can have a huge impact on animal conservation.
Why should people buy your book?
I will let Jane Goodall’s recommendation answer that for me. “Almost every day we hear one more story about a species facing extinction, a habitat destroyed. And indeed, planet Earth has never been so threatened by human actions. This is why Wild Lives is so desperately important. The people in this book are united by their belief that it is not too late to turn things around. You will be inspired by their stories. You will realize that there is hope for the future if we join the fight, if each of us does our bit.”
If you would like to read Wild Lives then you can grab a copy here, or if you’ve been inspired by Lori’s words then why not learn more about the lady behind the book, who is also an incredible conservationist in her own right, by checking out her website. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Lori’s answers as much as we did getting them!
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