From grizzly bears in northern Alaska to jaguars in Mexico, the reach of the Rocky Mountains is comprised of unique and diverse wildlife and wildlands. Author Mary Ellen Hannibal calls that 5,000-mile stretch the “spine of the continent.” Her new book documents a historic and ambitious project to save the region’s wildlife by creating linked protected areas from the Yukon to Mexico. She joins us to talk about the book, and the unique people who are determined to preserve the Rockies and beyond.

Mary Ellen Hannibal, Bay Area writer and editor focusing on science and culture and author of "The Spine of the Continent: The Most Ambitious Wildlife Conservation Project Ever Undertaken"

  • Cris

    when i first read the title of the book, I thought it was a book about the entirety of the American continent. But, as always, it centers the continent on the northern half. Please make this distinction. There’s a whole lot of America south of Mexico.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Over 100 years ago John Wesley Powell recognized the need to manage the territories west of the 100th parallel around each river system. Let’s hope that in the future a holistic management style emerges for the contiguous lands of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding Basin and Range that will be modeled after a Public/Private consortium such as the the “Yellowstone Ecosystem Management Plan.”

  • $22911251

    Channel Islands restoration projects demonstrate that a coordinated and sustained effort can bring back endangered species quickly such as the island fox and reestablish a healthy ecosystem without huge costs.

  • May Koski

    Great show! My question is about trails in our open space and state parks. I love to hike, but have noticed over 20 years of local hiking that there are more wild creatures where there are fewer trails. However, our open space organizations are constantly being encouraged (pressured?) to build more trails (and parking lots/bathrooms/etc.). What do you think is the right balance?

  • Earle

    I recently read an article about Ethiopian communities coexisting with hyenas. My question is if this might become the norm with other global communities at some point in the future, and what positive or negative outcomes this might pose?

  • smattoon

    Great program. I hope this conversation will continue here.
    I’m interested to know how Ms. Hannibal and other conservationists define “native” for the purposes of this project and other preservation, restoration, and conservation projects in general. “Native” is often conflated with desirability of a species. We’ve decided that removal of scotch broom is praiseworthy because it’s non-native, yet society generally desires to protect honeybees, which are also non-native. How do we choose which species to protect and which to eradicate?

  • Kenji Yamada

    Great interview subject! Concise, clear, engaging, knowledgeable, even good radio diction. I could listen to her talk all day.

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