Hope for Animals and Their World by Jane Goodall, Thane Maynard, and Gail E. Hudson

51qMIvatz9LNonfiction — print. Grand Central, 2009. 412 pgs. Library copy.

Subtitled “How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink”, this book is a collection of short essays on the attempts to save endangered species from extinction by dedicated individuals as well as Goodall’s thoughts on the progress and struggles of each species. One of her coauthors Maynard, the director of the Cincinnati Zoo, provides his own examples of rescued endangered species and thoughts on seeing some of these animals in their native habitats after reintroduction.

The book is divided six parts — “Lost in the Wild” which means these animals were extinct in the wild and new populations came from captive stock, “Saved at the Eleventh Hour” which includes animals that were rescued without becoming completely extinct in the wild, “Never Giving Up” which includes animals were captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild are failing to stabilize the declining population, “The Heroic Struggle to Save Our Island Birds”, “The Thrill of Discovery” which includes new species being discovered as well as species believed to be extinct that have been recently found, and finally “The Nature of Hope” which answers of the question of why save endangered species.

Goodall says in the introduction of this book that her purpose behind writing it is to give hope in a situation many feel is hopeless; she definitely success in that regard. The tales of animals that have been declared “saved” and those well on their way are certainly inspiring and interesting. The section on saving island ecosystems from invasive species and  work to save the Red Wolf were probably my two favorite chapters, but there was something interesting about every animal, plant, and bug covered.

There’s a clear distinction between the sections written by Goodall and by Maynard, and while I’m glad the plight of gray wolves in Yellowstone is highlighted, I wish the sections written by Maynard weren’t included simply because they weren’t nearly as informative. Another thing that bothered me was the number of times Goodall said “you can get the full story on the website”; couldn’t the whole story be included in the book?


  1. I loved Jane Goodall’s books when I was young- read all the ones about her work with the chimpanzees in Gombe. I haven’t read any of her more recent ones, although I have two on my shelf. This one sounds a little disappointing- does she really need the second voice of a co-author? and I think I’d find a story that ends “read more online” frustrating. But I’m going to read it and find out for myself!


    • Jeane, the co-author parts of their own stand-alone sections so everything else is in Goodall’s own voice. I just found those particular sections to not be as informative as Goodall’s. And “read more online” really becomes prominent in the end when, I believe, she ran out of room for all the stories she wanted to include.


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