By: John Thorbjarnarson and Xiaoming Wang
265 pages, Figs, tabs
The rare and endangered Chinese alligator has long held a prominent place in Chinese culture and mythology. This book provides comprehensive details about the biology, behavior, history and cultural and conservation significance of the animal thought to be the basis of the Chinese dragon legend.
Though more than 10,000 Chinese alligators live in zoos and breeding facilities, just a few hundred still exist in the wild. Much of their natural habitat has been lost to human development, leaving wild Chinese alligators clinging to small areas of the Yangtze River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. The authors recount how and why the species declined to the point where it is perhaps the most threatened of all crocodilians, discuss ongoing conservation works, and project what the future is likely to bring for the Chinese Alligator.
Their scientific synthesis sits in stark contrast to the alligators' unique relationship with Chinese culture, where folklore views it as a water deity related to dragons.
Drs. Thorbjarnarson and Wang are the ideal scientists - and truly the best qualified - to write this book. The story of the Chinese alligator is interesting on its own, and it primes those new to crocodilian conservation with what caused global declines of crocodilians and how crocodilian conservation has worked in many areas. - Lee Fitzgerald, Texas A & M University"
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