Owls of the Eastern Ice

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

‘Remarkable. If only every endangered species had a guardian angel as impassioned, courageous and pragmatic as Jonathan Slaght’ Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

Gripping Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale

Primorye, a remote forested region near to where Russia, China and North Korea meet in a tangle of barbed wire, is the only place where brown bears, tigers and leopards co-exist. It is also home to one of nature’s rarest birds, the Blakiston’s fish owl. A chance encounter with this huge, strange bird was to change wildlife researcher Jonathan C. Slaght’s life beyond measure.

This is the story of Slaght’s quest to safeguard the elusive owl from extinction. During months-long journeys covering thousands of miles, he has pursued it through its forbidding territory. He has spent time with the Russians who struggle on in the harsh conditions of the taiga forest. And he has observed how Russia’s logging interests and evolving fortunes present new threats to the owl’s survival. Preserving its habitats will secure the forest for future generations, both animal and human – but can this battle be won? Exhilarating and clear-sighted, Owls of the Eastern Ice is an impassioned reflection on our relationship with the natural world and on what it means to devote one’s career to a single pursuit.

Slaght makes the people, wildlife and landscape of the Russian Far East come alive. I haven’t enjoyed a book on remote Russia as much as this since Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia’
Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia

True epic. Powerful, passionate’ Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast

© Jonathan C. Slaght 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Critics Review

  • Slaght has a rare gift for startling evocations of the natural world…A refreshingly old-school, tautly strung adventure

    Guardian
  • Excellent…The brutality of human habitation is counterpoised with the brutality of the natural world. The reader becomes, like the author, “stunned by the quiet violence of this place.”

    The Times
  • This is a tale of man’s endurance, determination and perseverance in search of this elusive and beautiful creature … wonderful

    Bill Bailey
  • The remarkable story of one man’s heroic quest to save the astonishing fish owl. If only every endangered species had a guardian angel as impassioned, courageous and pragmatic as Jonathan Slaght.

    Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
  • A gripping account of the author’s obsessive quest to save one of the world’s most magnificent birds.

    Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and author of A Sting in the Tale
  • A vivid dispatch from the front line of conservation, Owls of the Eastern Ice is engrossing and uplifting; an inspiring story of vital work undertaken with utter determination in wild and distant places.

    Horatio Clare, author of Orison for a Curlew

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