4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

As we stumble into the Anthropocene, we humans are in the process of making numerous plants and animals extinct. Some of these we know are happening, the western black rhino is now gone forever and the northern white rhino has only got two females left; the last male dies in 2018. Just in the UK alone, there are 67 birds on the red list.

Knowing that these are threatened is bad enough, but it is more poignant when you can see photos of the animals that have vanished in the past century or so. In this book, Fuller has found photographs of 28 different species that we will never see again in the wild. Of the 28 there are a lot of birds that we have photos of including the Laughing Owl, the pink-headed duck, the Imperial Woodpecker and what was once the most numerous bird on the planet, the passenger pigeon. There are a few mammals included too, the greater short-tailed bat is quite a beauty and there are lots of pictures of the Thylacine, the carnivorous marsupial from Tasmania. While this is thought to be extinct, there have been recent reports of sightings again.

I can’t really say that I liked this book, as the subject matter is too tragic. However, it is well written and researched and I thought that Fuller has put together a book that is worth reading for its historical context. It should also be read as a warning for humanity about just how easy it is to lose some of the unique and wonderful creatures that we have on this planet.

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