Earth was once all wild. The ancestors of the builders of civilization were as wild as the hyenas who pursued them as prey. For tens of thousands of years, bands of humans roamed and gathered and lived in the wild. They were part of the wild.
The route to civilization was a stumbling path for the weak, yet inventive, Homo sapiens. But once civilization got rolling, it became an overwhelmingly powerful adversary of everything wild.
Civilization and all its trappings—religion, capitalism, culture—provided both the means and the outcome. Humans were enabled by, and the servants of, civilization, invading every wild ecosystem on Earth. By its very nature, civilization entitled, even required, humans to prevail over the wild. And they did so with intent and abandon. They changed the wild. They consumed the wild. In a stunning whirlwind, humans ravaged the wild in praise of civilization.
This book is about some of the remnants of the wild. It is our field guide to the vestiges of wild animals embedded, one way or another, in the human, civilized world.