9780688175399

Extinction Club : A Mostly True Story about Two Men, a Deer and a Writer

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780688175399

  • ISBN10:

    0688175392

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-07-02
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Summary

<P>From Robert Twigger, the internationally acclaimed author of <I>Angry White Pyjamas</I> and <I>Big Snake,</I> comes <I>The Extinction Club,</I> the brilliant, peculiar, and complex tale of the Milu. <P>For one thousand years, the Milu, an exotic species of deer with the neck of a camel, the horns of a stag, the feet of a cow, and the tail of a donkey, existed only in the Chinese emperor's private park in Beijing. But in the second half of the nineteenth century a Basque missionary, Pére David, became the first Westerner ever to see a Milu. Transfixed by the strange beast, he risked his life to obtain a specimen, then embalmed it and sent it to Paris in a diplomatic bag. The preserved remains caused quite a stir across Europe, and zoologists clamored to get hold of a live animal. Within a very short time, every major nation in Europe possessed a Milu. But most failed to thrive and died quickly in their new surroundings, and due to war -- most notably the Boxer Rebellion -- they became extinct in their native habitat as well. Yet the exotic deer were able to survive in one place -- Bedfordshire, England -- due to the nurturing of a devoted caretaker, the 11th Duke of Bedford, who kept a herd at Woburn Abbey. This labor and persistence paid off nearly a century later in 1986, when a part of the British herd was returned to China. And to this day the very rich hunt the Milu -- for a steep price -- in wild game reserves throughout the world, but most notably in Texas. <P>In his fascinating tale of nature, civilization, and history, Robert Twigger poignantly recounts the story of this strange and rare animal while providing a riveting meditation on a number of human obsessions -- evolution, truth-telling, extinction, myth-making, and survival.</P>

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