Isles of Refuge: Wildlife and History of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Latitude 20 Books (Paperback)) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2001/1/1
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In Isles of Refuge, the first book solely devoted to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, field biologist Mark Rauzon shares his extensive, first-hand knowledge of their natural history while providing an engaging narrative of his travels. Braving seasickness, bad weather, and biting bird ticks, he journeyed from Nihoa to Kure to study and photograph plants and animals for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: rare palms, sharks, turtles, seals, and thousands of birds--finches, terns, petrels, noddies, shearwaters, curlews, boobies, tropicbirds, ducks, and albatrosses, or "gooneys," famed throughout the Pacific for their flying prowess and bizarre breeding rituals.
Isolation and access restrictions have led to the recovery of many of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands' animal and plant populations to pre-exploitation levels, but they have also resulted in the general public's ignorance of the islands and their ecosystems. Informative and enjoyable, Isles of Refuge invites readers to learn more about the history and natural wonders of this invaluable resource.
"At times the book reads like outdoor adventure, with whimsical details that bring the stories to life."商品の説明をすべて表示する
But as a biogeographer, bird counter and habitat restorer, Mark Rauzon has been working in this bird (and now coral reef) refuge since the 1970s. So he has seen the green sea turtles sleeping on the sand, something they do nowhere else in the world. And the gooney birds courting. The waves and winds raising blistering sandstorms. The Laysan ducks teaching their ducklings how to stir up the brine flies to eat.
For places like French Frigate Shoals or Laysan or Kure (the northernmost atoll of living coral) we will have to rely on reporters like Rauzon.
The NWHI have a great deal of wildlife now and a surprising amount of history, considering how far away from anyplace they are and how few people ever went there, even when anybody who wanted to could go.
The old Hawaiians certainly went to the nearer rocks like Nihoa, where they left altars. Whether they reached the remoter islets is not certain.
After them came Russian explorers, Yankee sealers, whalers from several countries, representatives of the Hawaiian kings, guano diggers, Japanese feather poachers, naturalists, fishermen, pioneering aviators, sailors and Marines, Coast Guardmen and a few tourists.
These brought with them rats, dogs, cats, weeds, mosquitoes, oil, pesticides, ironwood trees, concrete, explosives, ants etc.
Rauzon says, "These small islands endured the worst we could dish out: war, murder, exploitation and pollution."
That may be an exaggeration -- we could have done more -- but man's footprint has not been light there. Yet animals that are scarce or missing now from the main Hawaiian islands either hang on or thrive in the NWHI.
Hawaiian monk seals, now seriously declining. Millions of seabirds. Hundreds of land birds. Turtles. Sharks. A few mostly humble but tough plants.
Considering that all these eroded islets started out much alike -- high, green remnants of volcanoes -- it is striking how different each one is from the other. Laysan has a saline lake, for example, the only lake out there. The ecological consequences of these minor differences have been considerable for the wildlife.
Rauzon describes the differences with a graceful touch. He loves these islands, though his memories of getting to them seem to linger on seasickness, perilous leaps onto wave-swept rocks, encounters with angry mother seals, fevers and other exciting but more or less unpleasant events.
This is a pretty book, with nice wildlife photographs by Rauzon (including one, on page 126, that is worth the price of the book all by itself), a number of historical photos, a few delicate line drawings of birds by Rauzon and a pleasant design.
The first edition had a number of errors which have been corrected in the second edition, which is preferable.