The most recommended books about wildlife conservation

Who picked these books? Meet our 31 experts.

31 authors created a book list connected to wildlife conservation, and here are their favorite wildlife conservation books.
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Book cover of Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter

Brant MacDuff Author Of The Shotgun Conservationist: Why Environmentalists Should Love Hunting

From my list on if you are interested in wildlife conservation.

Who am I?

I’m a conservation and taxidermy historian who writes about wildlife economics specifically for people new to the subject. I live in Brooklyn, travel constantly, love museums, and collect too many things (my grandmother owned an antique shop which kicked off my love of history.) My love for animals, history, and the outdoors created a bizarre career path that I have followed like an excited scent hound from the outdoor industry, butchery, museum sphere to conservation education and wildlife economics. I’m either in the woods, a Japanese restaurant, or on the road giving lectures about anything from the history of taxidermy to effective conservation structures in southern Africa. 

Brant's book list on if you are interested in wildlife conservation

Brant MacDuff Why did Brant love this book?

If my book brings the perspective of a new hunter and old conservationist, then Meat Eater is the perspective of the old hunter and new conservationist.

The entertaining memoir begins with Rinella’s earliest hunting memories so the reader can follow how hunting informed his connection to land and animals over time and how that made him the activist conservationist he is today.

A great book for the non-hunter to glean some perspective from someone who was born into hunting culture.   

By Steven Rinella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meat Eater as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Revelatory . . . With every chapter, you get a history lesson, a hunting lesson, a nature lesson and a cooking lesson. . . . Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel at eight and his first…


Book cover of Rescue at Lake Wild

Diana Renn Author Of Trouble at Turtle Pond

From my list on young environmentalists.

Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.

Diana's book list on young environmentalists

Diana Renn Why did Diana love this book?

When I was a kid, I wanted to rescue animals. I remember taking crabs home from the beach in milk cartons. Sadly, they didn’t make it – nor did they need rescuing in the first place. 12-year-old Madi Lewis is a savvier rescuer, an “animal whisperer” trained by her late grandmother, an animal rehabber, to keep careful records and do basic caretaking. But Madi’s parents have made it clear: no more foster animals. When Madi and her friends find two orphaned beaver kits in a dam, she has to keep it a secret – hard to do as they uncover a local conspiracy to eliminate beavers at Lake Wild. This fast-paced eco-mystery teaches a lot about conservation, ethics, and, of course, beavers! I love Madi as a young Jane Goodall type, too. 

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rescue at Lake Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

In this funny and moving animals-in-peril adventure, a twelve-year-old girl and her two best friends determine to rescue two orphaned beaver kits - and soon find themselves trying to solve a local environmental crisis. Perfect for fans of Pax and A Boy Called Bat. Everyone knows that twelve-year-old Madison "Madi" Lewis is not allowed to bring home any more animals. After she's saved hairless mice, two birds, a rabbit, and a stray tom cat that ended up destroying the front porch, Madi's parents decide that if they find one more stray animal in the house, she won't be allowed to…


Book cover of A Life in the Wild: George Schaller's Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts

Rebecca E. Hirsch Author Of Where Have All the Bees Gone?: Pollinators in Crisis

From my list on for teens who care about the environment.

Who am I?

I am the author of more than eighty books on science for young readers. My books for teens include The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery, Climate Migrants: On the Move in a Warming World, and Where Have All the Bees Gone? My books have won many honors, including a Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, a John Burroughs Association Riverby Award for nature writing, and a place on Booklist's Top 10 Books on the Environment & Sustainability for Youth for 2020. I hold a PhD in cellular & molecular biology, and my background as a professional biologist informs my writing.

Rebecca's book list on for teens who care about the environment

Rebecca E. Hirsch Why did Rebecca love this book?

Turner chronicles the life of George Schaller, a pioneering field biologist who has dedicated his life to saving the world's great wild beasts. You'll travel the world with Schaller as he observes and tries to save some of the world's most endangered animals: mountain gorillas in Central Africa, lions in the Serengeti, snow leopards in the Himalayas, and more. This adventure-packed biography is illustrated with Schaller's own photographs and carries a powerful message about the importance of conservation.

By Pamela S. Turner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Life in the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

For more than fifty years, explorer-naturalist George Schaller has been on a mission: to save the world's great wild beasts and their environments. In this compelling biography, illustrated with Schaller's own striking photographs, Pamela S. Turner examines the amazing life and groundbreaking work of the man International Wildlife calls "the world's foremost field biologist." Schaller's landmark research revolutionalized field biology, demonstrating that it is possible to study dangerous animals in their own habitats: mountain gorillas in Central Africa, predatory tigers in India, mysterious snow leopards in the Himalayas, and many others. His insights about species and environment led him to…


Book cover of Half-Earth

Dave Goulson Author Of The Garden Jungle

From my list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

I have loved insects and other wildlife for all of my life. I am now a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, UK, specializing in bee ecology. I have published more than 400 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), The Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021). They’ve been translated into 20 languages and sold over half a million copies. I also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity that has grown to 12,000 members. 

Dave's book list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis

Dave Goulson Why did Dave love this book?

EO Wilson died just a few weeks ago, at the age of 92. It was a sad day for me, as he has always been one of my great heroes. “E.O.” was a fantastic scientist, a world authority on ants, and sometimes known as the “father of biodiversity”. In this book, he argues that we have no right to drive millions of species extinct and that our own future depends upon setting aside half the Earth for nature.    

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Half-Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns us that a point of no return is imminent. Refusing to believe that our extinction is predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Half-Earth is a resounding conclusion to the best-selling trilogy begun by the "splendid" (Financial Times) The Social Conquest of Earth…


Book cover of Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America

Deb Vanasse Author Of Roar of the Sea: Treachery, Obsession, and Alaska's Most Valuable Wildlife

From my list on how nature talks to us.

Who am I?

Much of what Deb knows about writing, nature, and life she learned in Alaska, where she also mastered the art of hauling water and cooking ptarmigan. She loves characters who tug at the heart and stories that grab you from the opening line and never let go. Deb is the co-founder of Alaska’s 49 Writers, and she has been invited to join the faculty at several writers’ conferences. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives on Oregon’s north coast, where you’ll find her strolling the beaches and forests with her husband and boxer dog.

Deb's book list on how nature talks to us

Deb Vanasse Why did Deb love this book?

While researching my most recent book I wanted to explore the various ways people have interacted with wildlife throughout history. Mooellam’s book proved exactly what I was looking for. Fun and readable, it was a pleasant counterbalance to some of the hefty tomes I consulted, and yet it left me with much to think about.

By Jon Mooallem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Ones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Intelligent and highly nuanced... This book may bring tears to your eyes." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Journalist Jon Mooallem has watched his little daughter's world overflow with animals butterfly pajamas, appliqued owls-while the actual world she's inheriting slides into a great storm of extinction. Half of all species could disappear by the end of the century, and scientists now concede that most of America's endangered animals will survive only if conservationists keep rigging the world around them in their favor. So Mooallem ventures into the field, often taking his daughter with him, to move beyond childlike fascination and make those…


Book cover of Bringing Back the Lions: International Hunters, Local Tribespeople, and the Miraculous Rescue of a Doomed Ecosystem in Mozambique

Brant MacDuff Author Of The Shotgun Conservationist: Why Environmentalists Should Love Hunting

From my list on if you are interested in wildlife conservation.

Who am I?

I’m a conservation and taxidermy historian who writes about wildlife economics specifically for people new to the subject. I live in Brooklyn, travel constantly, love museums, and collect too many things (my grandmother owned an antique shop which kicked off my love of history.) My love for animals, history, and the outdoors created a bizarre career path that I have followed like an excited scent hound from the outdoor industry, butchery, museum sphere to conservation education and wildlife economics. I’m either in the woods, a Japanese restaurant, or on the road giving lectures about anything from the history of taxidermy to effective conservation structures in southern Africa. 

Brant's book list on if you are interested in wildlife conservation

Brant MacDuff Why did Brant love this book?

If you read my book and still don’t believe that big game hunting is an integral part of wildlife conservation in Africa (and everywhere else) then pick this book up next (and after you finish Lions read Cries of the Savanna by Sue Tidwell.)

The book’s subtitle tells you the story and unlike my book or the ones I mentioned by Emma Marris and Steven Rinella, this book stays in one place.

You get to see what it takes to go from empty, ravaged, soil-dead landscapes back to a thriving habitat and how to build an effective, sustainable conservation structure. 

By Mike Arnold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bringing Back the Lions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Last Elephants

James Currie Author Of When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer

From my list on elephants and birds.

Who am I?

I've had a life-long passion for birds and African wildlife that developed from a very early age, spending countless hours on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. At various times I've had a totally compulsive obsession for birds and have chased rare and endangered birds around the planet for my long-standing TV series Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV. My love for elephants is equally as strong and I produced an award-winning conservation film in 2018 entitled Last of the Big Tuskers that features the plight of the world’s last remaining 20 or so super-tusker elephants. I'm a conservation fanatic and love exploring the links between local people and wildlife.

James' book list on elephants and birds

James Currie Why did James love this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on African elephants I have ever read. It covers a huge variety of topics and is a compilation of stories and studies from a collection of authors, conservationists, and scientists. I particularly like the mixture of personal stories and scientific information. An absolute “must-read” for anyone with a deep interest in elephants and a desire to get involved in their conservation.

By Don Pinnock, Colin Bell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Africa-wide Great Elephant Census of 2016 produced shocking findings: a decimated elephant population whose numbers were continuing to plummet. Elephants are killed, on average, every 15-20 minutes - a situation that will see the final demise of these intelligent, extraordinary animals in less than three decades. They are a species in crisis.

This magnificent book offers chapters written by the most prominent people in the realm of conservation and wildlife, among them researchers, conservationists, filmmakers, criminologists, TV personalities and journalists.

Photographs have been selected from among the world's best wildlife photographers, and the passionate Foreword is provided by Prince…


Book cover of Star Beasts

Travis Nichols Author Of A Witch's Last Resort

From my list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong monster fiend. I love horror and sci-fi, and I especially love stories that really dig into characters and how they smash into each other. My favorite scary books (and movies, etc.) are funny, and my favorite funny books are kinda scary. It can be super healing and empowering to read books about terrible things that are handled with a heaping scoop of empathy and humor and absurdity.

Travis' book list on friendly freaks, monsters, and cryptids

Travis Nichols Why did Travis love this book?

Epic sci-fi with a cast of Earth-protecting animals.

Star Beasts is told through the POV of Bandit, the newest captain on the team, so we get to learn the ropes along with him (perfect way to tell a story, eh?). It’s as rad as it is cute. Alien animals!

Ancient relic collecting! Stinky lemurs! And if you’re anything like me, you will absolutely geek out when you see the Novataur.

I first read this book in self-pubbed form when I met the creators at WonderCon a few years ago. Nicest people on earth, coolest vision for their work, hilarious merch.

Also, Allyson is a fellow gardener, which is maybe not important to mention here, but it makes me happy.

By Stephanie Young, Allyson Lassiter (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Star Beasts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Wanna know the real reason Pluto isn't a planet anymore?

Bandit is a pup on Earth who leaves his family to join the secret order of the Star Beasts - cosmic creatures sworn to protect Earth and spread goodness throughout the universe. Only thing is, he's having trouble fitting in. But when powerful relics are suddenly stolen, the Star Beasts must band together to find the deadly galactic fossils before Pluto's evil emperor, Khaos Krill - he wants to build the Novataur, an ancient monster that could wipe out all of Earth's species!

Captain Bandit leads the crew on a…


Book cover of Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From my list on the environment by women writers from India.

Who am I?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Seema Mundoli Why did Seema love this book?

I have two pets cats, and my relationship with them is pretty straightforward—I care for them to the point of being obsessive about meeting their every need. Unlike me, the communities described in this book have a range of relationships with the non-human species they share space with. Care of course, and kinship, but also relationships of conflict and violence. Complex themes such as animal ethics, Hindu nationalism, the politics of exclusion, conservation, and even inter-species love are written about against the backdrop of the everyday lives of the villagers. The binary of domestic cow and the wild bear and the pigs that fall in between are all a part of this narrative of the tangled relationship between humans and animals. For those of us who balk at reading anthropological works, this book is a pleasure and easy read for the relatable style of writing.

By Radhika Govindrajan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animal Intimacies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does -it mean to live and die in relation to other animals? Animal Intimacies posits this central question alongside the intimate--and intense--moments of care, kinship, violence, politics, indifference, and desire that occur between human and nonhuman animals. Built on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the mountain villages of India's Central Himalayas, Radhika Govindrajan's book explores the number of ways that human and animal interact to cultivate relationships as interconnected, related beings. Whether it is through the study of the affect and ethics of ritual animal sacrifice, analysis of the right-wing political project of cow-protection, or examination of villagers' talk about…


Book cover of This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet!

Michele Sheldon Author Of The Mystery of The Missing Fur

From my list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness.

Who am I?

I’ve travelled to the Pantanal and along the Amazon both ways from Brazil and Colombia while I was teaching English in Brazil and will never forget the destruction of the Amazon. A visit to the gaping hole of Serra Pelada, a gold mine, had a lasting effect on me as did the forest fires and scorched earth, devoid of any bird or animal apart from the skinny cattle grazing amongst the blackened trees, stretching for miles. A run-in with a hyacinth macaw egg thief, who was smuggling the beautiful birds into Europe, spurred my interest in writing a children’s series which touches on conservation, endangered species, and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Michele's book list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness

Michele Sheldon Why did Michele love this book?

This book does exactly what it says, although the chapter entitled "Eat Your Neighbours" did make me wonder if I was reading a different genre. Without being preachy, it gives kids 50 great ideas to help them make a difference to the environment including coming up against climate deniers, rewilding your garden (obviously without the bison, wolves, and wildcats), and buying less stuff including gadgets, clothes, and fast fashion (though I still have some way to go with a certain teenager). If you feel frustrated about how huge a problem climate change is and don’t know where to start, then the book will help you understand what fuels it and gives children some agency over how they choose to live their lives and make a difference.

By Isabel Thomas, Alex Paterson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Our planet is heating up, and it needs your help! If you want to learn to reduce your carbon footprint and cool the Earth, here are practical tips and projects that make a difference!

Are you concerned about climate change? The bad news is, global warming is a real problem that won't go away on its own. But the good news is, there are lots of easy ways you can get involved and make a difference! From swapping your stuff to assigning your school some eco-homework, helping to save the planet is within your reach. Arm yourself with info about…