Forbidden Creatures

Lyons Press

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A fascinating story of the animal underworld

On the heels of his acclaimed The Dangerous World of Butterflies, investigative journalist Peter Laufer is back to chronicle his global quest to penetrate the burgeoning underworld of international animal smuggling and who is buying the big cats, long snakes, and great apes that may live in a neighborhood like yours.

In Forbidden Creatures, Laufer exposes the network of poachers, traders, breeders, and customers who constitute this often nefarious business -- which, estimated at $10 to $20 billion annually, competes with illegal drug and weapons trafficking in the money it earns criminals.

Crisscrossing America and the globe, Laufer introduces brazen and dangerous traders and wealthy (or not-so-wealthy) pet owners whose greed, self-interest, and sometimes genuine love for animals perpetuate what is now a crisis of survival for a growing number of wild species. He turns up stories of exotic creatures of all sorts -- from monkeys to chimpanzees, cheetahs to tigers, piranhas to pythons.

Among the many people he meets is breeder Connie Casey at "Chimparty," the Missouri compound where the headline-grabbing Travis the chimp was born and raised, to hear her thoughts about what prompted Travis to attack Charla Nash.

Woven throughout with riveting stories from law enforcement officials, federal prosecutors, animal rights activists, and others involved in the business of international animal smuggling, Forbidden Creatures is both an important book and a compelling, first-person narrative written in Laurel's hallmark conversational, entertaining style.


Format: Hardcover
Year published: 2010

Pages: 250
Non-fiction; short stories; memoir
Imprint: Lyons Press

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