Animals in the wild are often misunderstood, but that doesn’t mean we should just let them be.
In the new book Wildlife in the New World, written by conservationist Peter Brace and journalist Paul Brace, wildlife ecologist and author Peter Bracey looks at the evolution of the animals that we see in the real world.
He says it’s a “wonderful read” and a “lovely look at the way the world works”.
A new breed of wildlife book for the first time in 20 years is due to be published in November but has sparked controversy from conservationists, who say it could make it harder for wildlife to survive in a world of big-game hunting.
“The wildlife book is the future of the conservation industry,” says conservationist Dr Peter Bracchia.
“They’ve got this great big book coming out, and they’re going to put it out and they won’t know what to do with it.”
But wildlife ecologists say it’s important that we take wildlife seriously.
For example, it has a special place in the conservation world because of the many threats facing animals and the consequences of overfishing.
“I think it’s quite significant that it’s the first wildlife book that really looks at these things,” says Dr Brace.
There’s also a need to understand how wildlife are evolving, as they have become more complex.
The book is based on research carried out by wildlife ecology and conservationists Dr Bracchetti and Brace with the support of the Natural History Museum, Cambridge University and the University of Edinburgh.
It focuses on six species that have been used by humans for thousands of years.
They include wolves, tigers, leopards, lions and bears.
Brace says the focus on these six species was inspired by the work of the late scientist and naturalist Richard Dawkins, who was also a big-animal conservationist.
“There’s a great deal of research on the evolution and behaviour of these animals, and we’re not really able to really put those things into context,” says Brace “The key thing to understand is that they’re really complicated, they’re very complex creatures.”
There are also some things that are very simple, like the way these animals behave.
And there are some things, like how they look, that are so complex that it makes it hard to understand.
But there are also a lot of things that we really can understand and it’s all very well, but it doesn’t have to be this complicated.
That’s the way it should be, says Bracach.
“The beauty of it is it’s not like you can just write a book about a particular animal or species and expect it to be easy to understand and to be useful to the public.
You have to put in the time and effort to actually understand what the animals are doing.”
And Brace says it should not be a matter of the average person, “who are they, where they live and what they eat”.
“It should be the public who are making the decisions about whether or not these animals are protected, so they are protected from overfishery, that they can live in a safe environment and for the species that are in danger they are able to live safely.”
In his book, Brace describes some of the big challenges wildlife conservationists are facing today.
He points to the rapid spread of climate change as an example of how the natural world is changing.
“When you look at what we see today, you see that this is really the end of the era of hunting for food.
It’s very different to what we saw in the 19th century,” he says.
This has led to a change in what species people are interested in hunting, he says, but he also points out that there is still a lot to learn about what these animals eat.
What’s more, we have an “unfinished business” when it comes to protecting wildlife, says Dr Bacchias.
“We’re not going to be able to stop overfished animals being caught and killed, so we have to look at how we manage wildlife in a way that preserves them.”
For instance, the book focuses on the “wildly misunderstood” brown bear, which has “very little to do” with hunting.
“When you’re looking at this, you’re not thinking about whether it’s wild or not wild, it’s just the nature of the animal,” says Professor Brace of the University at Cambridge.
Bracchiac says he believes we have a responsibility to understand the behaviour of wild animals.””
You’re never going to know why it looks like that.”
Bracchiac says he believes we have a responsibility to understand the behaviour of wild animals.
“It’s important for people to realise that the vast majority of these wild animals have been studied for their natural behaviour