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Myth and media typically cast animals we consider predators or carnivores as unthinking killers – dangerous, unpredictable, and devoid of emotion. But is this portrait valid? By exploring their inner lives, this pioneering book refutes the many misperceptions that hide the true nature of these animals. We discover that great white sharks express tender maternal feelings, rattlesnakes make friends, orcas abide by an ancient moral code, and much more. Using the combined lenses of natural history, neuroscience, and psychology, G. A. Bradshaw describes how predators share the rainbow of emotions that humans experience, including psychological trauma. Renowned for leading research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in elephants and other species, Bradshaw decries the irrational thinking behind wildlife policies that equate killing carnivores with "conservation". In its place, she proposes a new, ethical approach to coexistence with the planet's fiercest animals.
Please note: originally announced with the title Beyond Tooth and Claw: The Nature of Carnivore Minds.
G. A. Bradshaw is founder and director of The Kerulos Center and the Tortoise and the Hare Sanctuary. Her groundbreaking discovery of post-traumatic stress disorder in free-living elephants launched the field of trans-species psychology. She lives in Jacksonville, OR.
"Students of animal behaviour are taught to resist thinking about animals as though they were human. In Carnivore Minds: Who These Fearsome Animals Really Are (Yale University Press), trans-species psychologist Gay Bradshaw deliberately ignores this advice to get under the skin of seven vertebrate predators. Bradshaw blends behavioural, psychological and neurobiological knowledge with insights from a wide range of sources, from experienced naturalists to indigenous peoples. The results might raise eyebrows, such as her use of John Bowlby's infant attachment theory to explain the behaviour of grizzly bears, or the observation that white sharks are "individuals who are conventional with narrow interests". But Bradshaw's moving description of the effects of captivity on the physiology, behaviour and psychology of orca shows the value of this approach."
– Matthew Cobb, New Scientist 3137, 5 August 2017
"Carnivore Minds is a pure delight and a magnificent achievement. Think of it as Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals for the twenty-first century. Every page reveals a new idea for looking deeply into animal souls."
– Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil
"This may be the most exciting, most informative, and most surprising book ever written about animals. It results from a new approach to animal studies, and the findings are overwhelming."
– Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
"The Western world has long kept non-humans in conceptual boxes, distanced from the rest of the living world. Gay Bradshaw does the opposite. By removing artificial dividers, she shows the overlapping abilities and experiences among species and illuminates new perspectives for us to consider."
– Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
"Bradshaw continues to carve out an immensely important and innovative field that combines animal behavior and psychology, with deep inter-mind – and soul – sensibilities. Beautifully written. This book is a catalyst for societal change."
– Peter H. Kahn, Jr., University of Washington
"With panache and care, Gay Bradshaw tackles myths about carnivores. She moves the reader to greater understanding and empathy – critical tasks if we are going to increase humanity's concern for carnivore thriving."
– Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame
"Gripping [...] Gay Bradshaw informs, educates, challenges, and exposes biases about carnivores. We need to stop excluding these animals from the ambit of human ethical concern."
– John Gluck, author of Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist's Ethical Journey
"The book forces us to regard other species – those dangerous, frightening, predatory ones that occasionally kill us – in a new light."
– Luke Hunter, Panthera
"Bradshaw goes beyond current trends, uniting two seemingly unrelated fields of science into one: neuropsychology and carnivore biology. She makes a remarkably original contribution by taking the reader into psychological sessions with an interesting cast of charismatic carnivores."
– William J. Ripple, Oregon State University
"[A] fascinating blend of well-informed anecdote, neuroscience, ecology, and gleanings from the scientific literature."