“The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.” — Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen’s “Wildlife in America” should be required reading for anyone who appreciates wildlife. Matthiessen writes not just about the wildlife North America has lost but also about the greed and reckless destruction of animals and their habitat.
While “Wildlife in America” talks about the extinction (or perhaps more accurately extermination) of some species there are also stories of success in the works of early conservation organizations.
Most hunters and anglers today show greater concern when it comes to wildlife preservation. In this part of the country there have been no greater success stories than that of the whitetail and wild turkey.
While hunting regulations have played a large role in the rebound of deer and turkey populations since the early 1900s in Missouri, habitat continues to be a concern, especially with upland game such as the northern bobwhite and ring-necked pheasant. Many of us can remember when it wasn’t uncommon to find a half dozen coveys of quail when hunting in this part of the state but that is no longer so.
Hunters, anglers and anyone who enjoys wildlife should read Matthiessen’s book. The losses written about in “Wildlife in America” concerning the slaughter and disregard for wildlife and its habitat are mirrored in many levels today in what corporations and individuals hail as progress.