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By: Richard Mahler
359 pages, 41 b/w illus
When the nature writer Richard Mahler discovers that wild jaguars are prowling a remote corner of his home state of New Mexico, he embarks on a determined quest to see in the flesh a big, beautiful cat that is the stuff of legend - yet verifiably real. Mahler's passion sets in motion a years-long adventure through trackless deserts, steamy jungles, and malarial swamps, as well as a confounding immersion in centuries-old debates over how we should properly regard these powerful predators: as vermin or as icons, trophies or gods?
He is drawn from border badlands south to Panama's rain forest along a route where the fate of nearly all wildlife now rests in human hands. Mahler's odyssey introduces him to unrepentant poachers, pragmatic ranchers, midnight drug-runners, ardent conservationists, trance-induced shamans, hopeful biologists, stodgy bureaucrats, academic philosophers, macho hunters, and gentle Maya Indians. Along the way, he is forced to reconsider the true meaning of his search - and the enduring symbolism of the jaguar.
&i;"Richard Mahler is an engaging writer who captures the reader on the first page as he begins his quest to see the magnificent jaguar in the wild. His odyssey leads the reader on an exploration of its colorful and complex cultural history, both ancient and modern, while he explores the farthest reaches of its range from the United States to Brazil, with those that know it best. He truly captures the magic and mystique of this threatened species. I thoroughly enjoyed this book-the pages flew by."&o;
- Carolyn M. Miller, Conservation Management Institute
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