Back From the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction, by Nancy F. Castaldo, tells the moving stories behind all of these rescues. Whooping cranes were hunted almost to extinction for their giant white feathers to decorate the hats of fashionable women. And they weren’t the only birds killed for their plumes. Bet you didn’t know that two women, Minna Hall and Harriet Hemenway, goaded the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918) that lead to the beginning of their salvation.
In story after story of these creatures brought back from the ultimate death of their species, I was impressed not only by the amazing details of Castaldo’s research but I was also envious of her adventures in collecting them. She didn’t just read books and interview experts. She traveled to the locations in California, the Florida Everglades, the Galápagos Islands, and her home State of New York to experience first-hand the animals and their preservationists. This book was an adventure to write and that comes through to the reader.
I found myself angry at human greed, injustice and carelessness that afflicted each species. I marveled at the Herculean efforts of individuals that went into each campaign to save them. Castaldo is tells moving success stories. At times I was in tears. But she also hints at the many stories of tremendous losses she hasn't told. How dare we destroy our fellow inhabitants of our planet!
We cannot lose touch with our planet and the need to preserve as much as possible of its diversity of life before it’s too late. Nancy Castaldo’s Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction contributes to opening the eyes of the next generation.