Searching for Pekpek

A conservation professional, Andrew L. Mack has lived and worked in some of the world's most diverse and exceptional ecosystems.

In Melanesia, in the wilderness of Papua New Guinea, Andy Mack completed some of the first in-depth and long-term ecological studies ever undertaken in the region.  After decades of research, he came away with insights into conservation, economic development, and the global politics of earth stewardship.

Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest, is the chronicle of Andy's personal and scientific journey.  His adventure is akin to stepping through a portal into a time and place where ancient cultures clash with modern sensibilities, of surviving in a country where there is no access to electricity, health care, roads, telephones, or police, all while searching for a dinosaur-like bird, some species of which can reach 6 feet, weigh 120 lbs, and are one of the few birds that can easily kill people.


Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest has been featured on the December/January issue as one of Shelf Unbound Magazine’s, Shelf Unbound Notable 100 for 2015.

Read the magazine and check out page 106 for the article on our book!

Journeying to the Ends of the Earth

Papua New Guinea is a land worthy of attention. This small nation, roughly the size of California, is home to over 800 distinct languages, roughly 30 percent of the world’s total, and boasts an incredibly complex culture.  Biologically diverse as well, New Guinea retains extensive old growth forests and should be a top priority for conservation.

Few countries are further from the beaten academic trail.  As we learn in Searching for Pekpek:

“Often advice to beginning graduate students is not to take on a project unless you know it is workable. We learn as students not to risk failure, usually with the coda that “later in your career when you are established, then you can take risks.”  But often by the time academicians are nicely established, they are there by virtue of not taking risks and are not about to start. Such entrainment for safety is not limited to academicians either. But I find a sure thing boring.”

Join Andrew L. Mack, Ph.D. as he works to shed light on one of the world’s most unusual avian species, uncovers the failures of Big Conservation, and experiences the transition to effective conservation that comes only from committed people working in their own homeland to benefit their own futures.  

Read an excerpt from Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest. herowana-camp


Buy the Book: Searching for Pekpek



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