|About the Book|
Bears are always biggest when theyre coming your way, reports Tom Melham, author of Alaskas Wildlife Treasures. He has reason to know. Having joined biologists in tagging and studying Kodiak bears, the worlds largest land carnivores, Tom stoodMoreBears are always biggest when theyre com¬ing your way, reports Tom Melham, author of Alaskas Wildlife Treasures. He has reason to know. Having joined biologists in tagging and studying Kodiak bears, the worlds largest land carnivores, Tom stood for an endless instant as 500 pounds of raw power charged toward him. Would the tranquilizer—injected by dart gun from a helicopter—take effect in time?It did. Tom survived to spend an entire sum¬mer in the Great Land, as Alaskans call their enor¬mous, icy home. His gripping account offers a timely introduction to Alaskas diverse creatures, and to the bitterly tangled issues affecting their survival. No tourist, Tom shouldered his gear through some of Alaskas toughest country. Frigid water numbed his limbs as he thrashed and gasped through the Kongakut River. Bounding over tundra on an all-terrain vehicle brought jubi¬lation—and a mudbath. Even the grasses sup¬plied an element of hazard as Tom helped net geese on the Aleutian island of Buldir.Along with adventure, the northernmost state offers scenes suitable for framing- pregnant caribou, tens of thousands of them, filing across the Brooks Range- edgy walrus packed along a slice of shore- emerald lakes in a landscape more suited to Disneys palette than to natures- agile Dall sheep in light-white coats- and enough fjords, peaks, streams, and valleys to adorn an entire planet and not seem stingy.With the sights come sounds. Walrus bel¬low, caribou burp, musk oxen clatter as their horns meet. And another species—more dangerous in its way than any other—produces sharper dis¬cords. Contemplating the fate of the Alaskan arcadia, human residents are debating strategies, priorities. Some still marvel as the Last Frontier yields its newest mysteries. They arent supposed to move around like this, sighs an expert as a wolf pack confounds theory.But there they are.