The Times Nature Book of the Year 2020
Winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
A Finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award
‘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