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Search for the Golden Moon Bear

Science and Adventure in Pursuit of a New Species

Afterward by Gary Galbreath

Sy Montgomery–acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig–has shared with readers her amazing encounters with intelligent octopi, great apes, man-eating tigers, and pink river dolphins, but here her muse is an animal whose name and appearance evoke another world altogether. Southeast Asia’s golden moon bear, with its luminous coat, lionlike mane, and Mickey Mouse ears, was unknown to science–until Montgomery and her colleagues got on the trail at the dawn of the new millennium.

Search for the Golden Moon Bear recounts Montgomery’s quest–fraught with danger and mayhem–to reconstruct an evolutionary record and piece together a living portrait of her littleknown subject. This beautiful animal is not just a scientific eureka! It is also a powerful symbol of conservation. Search for the Golden Moon Bear is a field report from the frontiers of science and the ends of the earth, seamlessly weaving together folklore, natural history, and contemporary research into fantastic travelogue.

Reviews and Praise

  • Publishers Weekly-
    Though this eye-opening book starts out as a chronicle of a scientist's search for the elusive golden moon bears of Southeast Asia, it quickly turns into a spiritual, cultural and ecological study of two Third World nations ravaged by war and greed. Laos has the distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in the world, and Cambodia the most heavily mined (one in 236 Cambodians is an amputee, the author notes), but that doesn't keep Boston Globe journalist Montgomery (Journey of the Pink Dolphins) from accompanying Gary J. Galbreath, professor of evolutionary biology at Northwestern University, as they embark on an expedition to determine whether the golden moon bear is a new species or just a rare "color phase." While traveling from site to site searching for bears and plucking out their hairs (to use in DNA analysis), the two encounter a number of perils including monstrous leeches, inch-long ants and machine-gun-armed bandits as well as a handful of extraordinary people who are trying to preserve what is left of Asia's wildlife and forests. Sadly, all of the bears Montgomery and Galbreath find are either in sanctuaries, caged in zoos, or held in restaurants, destined for the chopping block. Montgomery vividly recounts her sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifying experiences with a reporter's keen eye, a conservationist's outrage and a poet's lyricism ("...the precise triangulated leaves of bamboo, the graceful tracery of vines, the embrace of living wood and breathing leaves soothed our souls"). Readers who aren't conservationists to begin with will be by the end of this heady and haunting narrative.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More Reviews and Praise

  • Library Journal-
    Montgomery first enchanted readers with her search for the pink dolphin in the Amazon (Journey of the Pink Dolphin). She does the same in this tale of her journeys in Southeast Asia in pursuit of the Golden Moon Bear. Is this creature a color phase of the darker moon bear or the thrilling discovery of a new species? Making science exciting is Montgomery's talent, and she is in top form here, taking readers with her as she travels with bear expert Gary J. Galbreath and explores various cultures, histories, customs, and people. Despite her discoveries, Montgomery experiences soul-shaking sorrow. In Asia, bears are farmed for bile and horrifically tortured before select parts are consumed in restaurants. Yet hope exists in the form of honest young officials taking over from previous corrupt administrations and in local and international efforts to provide animal sanctuaries and hospitals. For the science, for the understanding, for the feeling that you were there, too, this book is highly recommended.

  • "Read this fascinating, important book about one of the world's least-studied and most mysterious bears. Sy Montgomery is the master of sharing the thrill of scientific discovery and humor along the way. You'll be right there with her. Search for the Golden Moon Bearis a pleasure--like finding a patch of ripe blueberries."--Dr. Lynn Rogers, Director, North American Bear Center

About The Author

About Sy Montgomery

Researching articles, films, and her twenty-one books for adults and children, bestselling author Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Rwanda, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels, and pink dolphins in the Amazon. Her work has taken her from the cloud forest of Papua New Guinea (for a book on tree kangaroos) to the Altai Mountains of the Gobi (for another on snow leopards.) Her books for adults include The Soul of an Octopus (a National Book Award finalist), The Good Good Pig, Birdology, Spell of the Tiger, Journey of the Pink Dolphins, and Walking with the Great Apes. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, the writer Howard Mansfield, their border collie, Thurber, and their flock of free-range laying hens.

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Books By Sy Montgomery

Pages:336 pages
Book Art:8 pages of color illustrations and maps
Size: 5.5 x 7.5 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Pub. Date: August 25, 2009
Paperback: 9781603580632

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 336 pages, $19.95

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