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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Search for the Golden Moon Bear


Only eight bear species are known to science: The American black bear; the grizzly; the polar bear; the South American spectacled bear; Asia’s sun bear, moon bear, and sloth bear; and the Chinese panda. The moon bears’ lineage (most similar to that of the American black bear) as black-coated mountain dwellers had never been challenged—until author Sy Montgomery and her scientific colleagues turned up a new golden form.

In Montgomery’s new book, Search for the Golden Moon Bear, she travels to the home of the moon bear in Southeast Asia, to track down what she hopes might be a new species of bear. What she finds is less than hopeful; bears kept in cages, often starving and neglected, their paws a culinary delicacy, their organs used for medicine. Yet Montgomery creates a hopeful narrative that weaves folklore, natural history, and scientific research into an evocative journey. Sy Montgomery is, according to Book Magazine, “A modern miracle. Bawdy, brave, inventive, prophetic, hell bent on loving this planet.”

Throughout the month of August, Living on Earth Today will feature daily installments of Montgomery reading her book.

Part 1 – A First Encounter: The Golden Moon Bear

Chapter 1: In the Market for Bears.

Chapter 2: The Bears of Phnom Penh

Chapter 3: The Sorrow of the Forest Spirits

Chapter 4: Year Zero

Chapter 5: Refugees

Part 2 – The Magic Ingredient

Chapter 6: Essence of Bear

Chapter 7: The Hmong of Skokie, Illinois

Chapter 8: Dog Bear

Chapter 9: The Kingdom of a Million Elephants

Chapter 10: The Empty Forest

Chapter 11: Soul Wandering

Chapter 12: Seeing

Part 3 – Lost Worlds

Chapter 13: Hearing

Chapter 14: Appetite

Chapter 15: The Coming Flood

Part 4 – The Naga and the Khting Vor

Epilogue Angkor: Forgetting and Remembering

Scientific Addendum

Listen to all the chapters (RealAudio only)

All photos by Sy Montgomery, Gary J. Galbreath, and Dianne Taylor-Snow


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