C IS FOR CHAD, C IS FOR CHINA, I IS FOR INDONESIA, J IS FOR JAPAN, K IS FOR KENYA, L IS FOR LAOS, M IS FOR MALAWI, S IS FOR SOUTH AFRICA, S IS FOR SOUTH SUDAN, S IS FOR SUDAN, T IS FOR THAILAND, U IS FOR UNITED STATES and V IS FOR VIETNAM
I would probably tune out if this was a drier book on poaching, so I definitely appreciated Love Nuwer’s funny, self-deprecating and low-key tone. While not a substitute for academic works on the subject, it’s a great collection of interlinked articles for those who aren’t anywhere near experts on animal conservation but are willing to give time and attention to a read on poaching. I was thoroughly entertained, absolutely devastated and ultimately left mildly hopeful by the narrative.
I think that the biggest challenge in dealing with such subject matter for a white woman from Brooklyn is to maintain an appropriate tone throughout while also portraying someone in China who shows her their rhino horn, or the workers of a Vietnamese restaurant who slaughter pangolins and civets without being imperialist and racist. I think that Love Nuwer does a pretty great job with it, and I admire the way she navigated very complex issues—such as dealing with people directly responsible for the suffering of animals—without the usual hubris of a Westerner accusing someone of eating dog meat or hunting lions. I love animals, and I’m sad about the state of things, but I was very thankful to Love Nuwer that I could read this book without feeling sermonized. This is true journalistic integrity: to show without preaching. I hope to read more from Love in the future on this subject, and others.
Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking by Rachel Love Nuwer
Published by Da Capo Press in 2018