307 pages, colour photos
This is the story of an extraordinary job, in an extraordinary place. As one of the rangers, Michael Anderson was there to eradicate the cats and control the rabbits. Feral cats, European rabbits, black rats and house mice were introduced to Macquarie Island back in the sealing days. Sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island is a thin sliver of land cast adrift amidst the world's greatest ocean, 1500 kilometres south east of Hobart, Tasmania. The plateau that stretches most of the length of the island slopes steeply to narrow coastal terraces and storm-lashed, rocky shores. The climate is vicious: an average 280 days of strong wind a year, 90 days at gale force. On most days some form of precipitation falls, whether rain, drizzle, hail or snow. In summer the island is home to around four million penguins and tens of thousands of seals, as well as albatrosses and several species of burrow-nesting seabirds.
Feral Dilemma is both the personal response of a ranger working to eliminate feral cats in a most challenging environment, and a philosophical probing into this "feral dilemma". Feral Dilemma immerses the reader in a world of sub-zero temperatures, gales, stink and struggle contrasted with the glory of an aurora or the majesty of an albatross. The narrative is immediate, raw and colourful, yet sometimes also lyrical. It is a marriage of science and poetry, told by a man who has fallen in love with a wild island.
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