The predators that can hunt, kill and eat us occupy a unique place in the human psyche. In this book, Adam Hart looks at our relationship with these animals from a conservation perspective.
Whether it's lions in Africa, tigers in India or sharks in the world's oceans, we are fascinated by – and often terrified of – predators. Animals that can hunt, kill, and eat us occupy a unique place in the human psyche, and for good reason. Predation forms a big part of our evolutionary history, but in the modern world there are many people who live alongside animals that can, and sometimes do, make them prey.
In The Deadly Balance, biologist Adam Hart explores the complex relationships we have with predators, and investigates what happens when humans become prey. From big cats to army ants, via snakes, bears, wolves, crocodiles, piranhas and more, Hart busts some myths and explores the science behind such encounters. Despite their fearsome and often wildly exaggerated reputations, these animals have far more to fear from us than we do from them. By probing the latest conservation science, Hart explores how we might both conserve the world's predators and live safely alongside them.
Adam Hart is a Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire. A lifelong nature obsessive, Adam teaches and studies ecology, conservation, behaviour, evolution and field biology. He is also a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service; he has made more than 30 radio documentaries on topics ranging from tree diseases to trophy hunting and was the co-host of the BBC TV documentaries Planet Ant and Hive Alive. Adam was a host of the international weekly World Service science round-up program Science in Action and is writer and presenter of Tooth and Claw, which examines our complex relationships with predators.
His academic research is wide-ranging and includes insect biology, citizen science, African ecology and conservation. Adam is the co-director of research for the Nkombi Volunteer programme in South Africa, and his work on thermal imaging in rhino anti-poaching in southern Africa won him the UK Universities' Green Gown award for Research with Impact. Adam is also the Vice President of the Royal Entomological Society.
"Conservation is never easy – especially when predators and people are involved. In The Deadly Balance, Hart guides us through the challenges people and predators face around the world and discusses the solutions we need to adopt to conserve predators and keep people safe. An authoritative must-read for anyone interested in wildlife and conservation."
– Steve Backshall, zoologist and TV presenter
"Immersive, poignant and primal, this timely book is a powerful reminder of our humble place alongside predators, and their vital role in building a functioning, resilient planet."
– Sophie Pavelle, author of Forget Me Not
"If we are to live alongside predators in a seemingly ever-decreasing world, we need to understand them now better than ever before. Hart's book provides that insight and understanding. A brilliant book, unravelling our complex and interwoven relationships with some of the planet's most iconic predators"
– Ben Garrod, author and TV presenter
"One of the most refreshing perspectives on predators I have ever read: an impassioned plea for us to consider the lived experience of people and communities for whom predation is an ever-present threat, that is effortlessly readable and grounded in great science. In Hart's capable hands, predators are anything but monsters: they are living, breathing organisms that are exemplars of survival, that shape ecosystems and that directly influence the lives of humans and communities with whom they co-exist."
– Jules Howard, author of Wonderdog