Dreaming in Turtle : A Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures
by Laufer, Peter, Ph.D.; Branson, Richard (FRW)

Richard Branson
Prologue: Operating Instructions For The Journalist1(8)
1 The Majestic Turtle
2 The Timeless Allure
3 The Voracious Consumers
4 The Tawdry Marketplaces
5 The Prodigious Farms
6 The Illicit Hunts
7 The Wily Smugglers
8 The Frustrated Cops
9 The Pitiful Casualties
10 The Conflicted Public And The Dedicated Conservationists
11 The Imminent Future
Epilogue: A Call To Action259(6)
Select Bibliography277(2)

Traces the ongoing challenges to endangered turtle populations, evaluating the global trade practices, limited supply, and increasing demand in high-population world regions that have compromised conservation efforts.

Journalist Peter Laufer is the James Wallace Chair Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He is the author of Dreaming in Turtle: A Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures and Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling.

Laufer (No Animals Were Harmed, 2011) was told by a Santeria priest that he needed a turtle for good energy and health. So begins his quest to document and understand the worldwide obsession with turtles and tortoises. In a wonderfully episodic book, perfect for slipping in and out of, Laufer travels the world in search of all things turtle. Touching a fossil of the oldest turtle-like reptile yet found makes him feel like he's bridging time, but this also drives home the fact that extinction is forever. A conflict between a massive solar farm and the desert tortoises who were there first is mirrored in the human impulse to pick up wandering tortoises and make them pets. A Cajun chef shows Laufer how to make turtle soup from snapping turtles (perfectly legal), while in a Chinese animal market even the revered turtles are mere commodities (mostly illegally). Turtle rescue stories mix with tales of patrolling beaches to protect sea turtles and of catching smugglers, while tales of Fred, Laufer's box turtle, provide an emotional connection. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A new entry to the rapidly growing body of literature on endangered animals, this time about a species that has survived for millennia and is found around the world.Award-winning journalist Laufer (Chair, Journalism/Univ. of Oregon; Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling, 2014, etc.), who is also a documentary filmmaker and broadcaster, has traveled the globe to examine the illegal trade in turtles. He shows the horror of this practice and of both the ingenuity and the stupidity of smugglers (in one chapter, he writes about a smuggler who was caught hiding turtles in his sweatpants). Among the author's reports on poaching, vendors, chefs, and undercover agents, Laufer inserts short essays on his relationship, or attempted relationship, with his pet turtle, Fred. Another personal touch are the author's accounts of his encounters with chefs; though he was able to calmly and carefully observe the preparation of turtle soup in a kitchen, the comm itted vegetarian never sampled the finished dish. The brief Fred stories are welcome changes from some of the disturbing scenes that Laufer describes. An especially memorable one was filmed by a Canadian schoolgirl touring Vancouver's Chinatown, where she witnessed meat being sliced from live turtles; happily, the publicity that followed did change some Canadian regulations. Judging from the author's report, however, not nearly enough is being done to protect turtles, tortoises, and terrapins (a distinction many general readers may not know). Laufer, who calls turtles "the canaries in the coalmine called Earth where we all live," views the process of saving them as being "of existential importance to us all," and his book is a clear call for action. The author tackles an endangered species with less obvious charm than pandas or dolphins, but his love of them and the lore he includes makes this a highly readable book. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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