How poignant it is to look at some of Gould's beautiful images of our animals and know that some are no longer with us, and some are fighting for their lives?
In this book, author Fred Ford compares Gould's world, and the world that the animals live in at that time, with the world today. John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Mammals of Australia includes 46 Australian mammal species that, today, are threatened or extinct and that were portrayed in the lavish colour plates in John Gould's 1863 publication, The Mammals of Australia.
Each animal 'opener spread' begins with a Gould plate accompanied by 'At a Glance' – a very short summary; the conservation status according to the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) list, the species names, a map of its former and current distribution and sites of reintroduction; and a timeline of the species history since European colonisation.
Accompanying the pictures are accounts of the animals as they lived in the relatively untouched Australia that John Gould knew, and evidence of the attitudes of European settlers towards the native fauna. The author provides the reader with fascinating, and often poignant, material and stories of what would be considered today as shameful behaviour and attitudes towards Australia's native fauna. In John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Mammals of Australia are not only sobering stories of the fate of these animals after Gould's time, but also success stories of reintroducing species to places, ridding areas of introduced pests, and preserving habitat.
Fred Ford currently works as a land management policy developer for the Australian Government. In past lives he has spent his time chasing down owl vomit in caves to find out what small mammals were on the menu 200 years ago. He has trapped, radiotracked and generally hassled small mammals across much of the continent. He co-authored Native Mice and Rats, a book about Australia's native rodents. He is closely involved with ecological restoration and species reintroduction programs at Mulligan's Flat in the ACT.