‘Why I spent my life saving the Blakiston’s fish owl’

Jonathan Slaght has devoted decades to preserving the largest owl species in the world. Here he talks about his wilderness adventures in a remote corner of Russia

When I was 19, in the summer of 1995, I fell in love with an owl. I’d just spent two weeks in Primorye in the Russian far east – a wild, mountainous province bordering the Sea of Japan, China and North Korea. It is a region of dense forests, rolling mountains, clean rivers and spectacular coastlines. Exotic locations were nothing new for me: I was born in the United States but grew up in a diplomat’s family, bouncing around the world from Uruguay to Panama as a young child, and to West Germany and Canada as a teen. Before the age of 16, I’d only lived in the United States for two years.

While I’d always been interested in the outdoors, I’d been ambivalent about birds and had never thought they would become my life’s passion. In fact, it was teenage envy that got me started. A high-school friend, now a professor of organismal biology at Gettysburg College, began a passionate study of birds and I wanted to keep up.

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Source: The Guardian
‘Why I spent my life saving the Blakiston’s fish owl’