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i>Wildlife Conservation: In the Belly of the Beast by Grahame J. W. Webb (2014) xxv+342 pp., Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin, Australia. ISBN 978-1-921576-88-1 (pbk), AUD 45.

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Wildlife Conservation: In the Belly of the Beast by Grahame J. W. Webb (2014) xxv+342 pp., Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin, Australia. ISBN 978-1-921576-88-1 (pbk), AUD 45. - Volume 49 Issue 3 - Simon Dures
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Wildlife Conservation: In the Belly of the
Beast by Grahame J. W. Webb () xxv+
pp., Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin,
Australia. ISBN ---- (pbk),
AUD .
Wildlife conservation is largely anthropocen-
tric rather than biocentric. It is about the ac-
tions of people more than the actions of
wildlife. Drawing on a lifetime of work both
in international conservation and on domestic
issues in his home country of Australia,
Grahame Webb distils the reality of working
in conservation. Written in a semi-
autobiographical style In the Belly of the
Beast is easy to read and avoids the technical
jargon often present in conservation, going
so far as to criticize it. He uses candid humour
and clever cartoons to highlight serious
messages.
His willingness to evaluate flagship conser-
vation issues critically, which many would
avoid for fear of being labelled a heretic, is
refreshing. He asks How many species of
plants and animals placed on threatened
species lists, to stimulate conservation action,
have ever been removed when the conserva-
tion action overcomes the threat? Whether
you agree with his views or not, they are well
argued and highlight the critical role biopoli-
tics, the media, marketing, moral outrage, pro-
tectionism, biopaternity, profiteering and
even Pamela Anderson can have on conserva-
tion outcomes.
The dedication in a lifetime of conservation
is clear, although it has been paved with frustra-
tion. He highlights the difference between what
he terms big-C conservation, concerning
population and habitat persistence, and little-c
conservation largely driven by animal rights
and welfare motivations, and this is a theme
throughout the book. His arguments are
clear, well-reasoned and important, although
the book does run the risk of becoming over-
zealous in its critique.
This aside, there are plenty of good-news
anecdotes, from the recovery of Kemps
Ridley turtles to his own personal successes
with crocodiles. Webbs insights, which stem
from his knowledge of crocodile conservation,
are used to present his understanding of the
multifaceted beast that makes up conservation.
He also draws from many other species and
scenarios, and there is something of interest
in the book whatever your conservation pas-
sion. The focus is largely on single species con-
servation but this does not detract from the
overall message.
For students aspiring to become conserva-
tion leaders or for experienced conservation
professionals, Webbs words will stimulate de-
bate. His observations of grantsmanship will
be a reminder of familiar moral conundrums
faced by many scientists, and the chapter en-
titled Killing should be read by all those taking
their first steps in conservation. His observation
that research can have a passionate allure like
sex where the bureaucracy surrounding many
researchendeavoursislikened to the use of a bi-
cycle tyre as a condom mademe laughoutloud.
In the Belly of the Beast contains serious
messages and observations and many people
may feel their beliefs have been offended, but
Webb is not apologetic. He has learned from
both his successes and failures and any
big-C conservationist would be remiss not
to listen to what Webbs experience has taught
him: The fundamental importance of science
in conservation issues is clearly under threat,
as the political machinery responds more
and more to advocates and political expedi-
ency. This trend is not in the best interests of
people or wildlife. Whether you agree or dis-
agree with his stance, his observations and ex-
perience should not be ignored.
S
IMON DURES Institute of Zoology, Zoological
Society of London, UK
E-mail simon.dures@ioz.ac.uk
Invasive Species in a Globalized World edi-
ted by Reuben P. Keller, Marc W. Cadotte &
Glenn Sandiford (), The University of
Chicago Press, Chicago, USA. ISBN
 (pbk), USD .
Midway through the term of the  stra-
tegic plan of the Convention of Biological
Diversity, the conservation of nature is at an im-
portant turning point. One of the most signifi-
cant threats to biodiversity is the increasing
number of invasive species and their global im-
pacts on other species, ecosys tems and biodiver-
sity goods. This book provides an overview of
patterns of invasions and the most effective re-
sponses, with a particular focus on policy mea-
sures to prevent the arrival of invasive species
and mitiga te their negative effects.
The volume is structured in four sections:
the first explores the facets of biological inva-
sions, providing a synthesis of the biological
basis of invasions, addressing the perceptions
of different sectors of society, and discussing
the most effective communication strategies;
the second focuses on the introduction
phase of invasions, providing data on im-
portation patterns of living organisms for
commercial purposes, and exploring eco-
nomic aspects; the third analyses the man-
agement of invasive species, reporting
example cases and describing various ap-
proaches; and the final section focuses on
policy responses, presenting reviews of the
US and European frameworks.
The book originates from a congress held
in Chicago in  and generally has a North
American perspective, but it does report
cases from other regions, from the competitive
exclusion of the European red squirrel by the
introduced American grey to the invasion of
Australia by the cane toad. One merit of the
book is that all examples are discussed from
a multidisciplinary perspectiv e. Thi s approach
is reflected in the list of authors, which includes
economists, legal experts and policy and com-
munication professionals. There is particular at-
tention to policy, and the book discusses key
aspects of the management of invasions, includ-
ing analyses of risk assessment procedures and
the pillars of a regulatory approach for invasive
species, and the development of a European
legal framework, with a detailed analysis of
the decisions that led to the adoption of a
European Regulation on invasive species,
which entered into force in January  after
the completion of this volume.
Finally, the editors draw general conclu-
sions and propose recommendations for deci-
sion makers. They explain that the struggle
against invasive species is based on the robust
evidence that non-native species are more
harmful than native organisms, and that sci-
ence reaffirms species origin as a valid, prag-
matic, and relevant basis for invasive species
policy. They also stress that invasive species
policy needs unifying and propose a bioethical
basis to guide action.
This excellent book examines a complex
issue, helping bridge the gap between policy
and science, and steering global action against
invasive species based on a synthesis of the rele-
vant disciplines. The final paragr aph str esses
that although we have the knowledge and tools
to alter the patterns and impacts of invasions, to
progress we need to address the principal chal-
lenges, which are cultural ra ther than technical.
P
IERO GENOVESI Institute for Environmental
Protection and Research, Italy, and Chair
IUCN Species Survival Commission Invasive
Species Specialist Group
E-mail piero.genovesi@infs.it
Oryx
, 2015, 49(3), 563 © 2015 Fauna & Flora International doi:10.1017/S0030605315000642
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