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The Hunt for the Golden Mole: All Creatures Great and Small, and Why They Matter
This story is a quest for an animal so rare that a sighting has never been recorded. The Somali golden mole was first described in 1964. It is mentioned in a number of textbooks, but the sole evidence for its existence is a tiny fragment of jawbone found in an owl pellet. Intrigued by this elusive creature, and what it can tell us about extinction and survival, Richard Girling embarks on a hunt to find the animal and its discoverer - an Italian professor who he thinks might still be alive...
Richard's journey comes at a time when one species - our own - is having to reconsider its relationship with every other. It is also a quest for knowledge. He delves into the history of exploration and the tall tales of the great hunters, explores the science of collecting and naming specimens, traces the development of the conservation movement and addresses the central issues of extinction and biodiversity. The Hunt for the Golden Mole is an engaging story which illustrates the importance of every living creature, no matter how small, strange or rare. It is a thoughtful, shocking, inspiring and important book.
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That rarest of delights: a roaring book of huge importance written by a master storyteller exploring our fragile relationship with the animal kingdom, offering insights into how a hopeful future could yet be snatched from the jaws of despair. Not a hint of preaching, not a whiff of worthiness. A great story written not by an idealist but by a pragmatist with a heart of gold with a clear eyed view of the world. - Tim Smit
The Hunt for the Golden Mole is a wonderful book. At one level it is a detective story in which Richard Girling is on the hunt for a very rare creature. But it is much more than that: an understated but passionate advocacy for the biodiversity of the planet which combines lightly worn scholarship with a compelling argument. Overall it is a tour de force - Jonathan Dimbleby
An informed and informative, provocative and rousing work - Sunday Telegraph
This is a book that bursts into life from the first page… Rousing, fascinating… Utterly engaging - Sunday Times
This book is a sobering, riveting read: part quest, part travelogue, part scientific debate and part much-needed environmental call-to-arms - National Geographic Traveller
I loved this book. This is natural history at its funniest, most curious, enlightening and heartfelt. I couldn’t put it down. It was like going on safari with Gerald Durrell, Rachel Carson and Redmond O’ Hanlon … I was alternately wide-eyed with wonder, appalled and then tickled to laughter. It’s beautifully written. And it’s powerful. An elegy to every living thing on this remarkable planet. Impossible to finish without being uplifted by the wonder of the natural world and driven to do something about its plight. - Nicholas Crane, writer and co-presenter of Coast
A gloriously readable, boundlessly fascinating shaggy dog story about the author's quest for one of hte world's more recently extinct species...what makes this book so wonderful: using his eye for detail, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, teaching you to care about the little things. - Mail on Sunday
At the heart of this delightfully meandering book is a history of how we find and catalogue species, and a thought-provoking examination of our changing attitudes to wildlife - BBC Focus
Elegiac and personal… Highly recommended - BBC Wildlife
A stirring tribute to the marvel of all living creatures - Sunday Times Summer Reading
Entertaining and provocative - Observer
Exciting, breathless - Saga Magazine
[Girling] writes with verve and passion and he makes his case persuasively, with knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment… Brimful with facts and arguments - UK Press Syndication
A delight to read - Independent On Sunday
About the Author
Richard Girling is an award-winning environmental journalist. For his work in the Sunday Times he was named Specialist Writer of the Year in the UK Press Awards in 2002, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2005 and 2006. He was Journalist of the Year at the Press Gazette Environmental Press Awards in 2008 and 2009. This is his seventh book.