Corwin, Jeff.100 Heartbeats. New York: Rodale, Inc. 2009. Print.

100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth's Most Endangered Species


100 Heartbeats book by Jeff Corwin. Image courtesy of Rodale Books

In 2009, Jeff Corwin’s 100 Heartbeats visited Panama. He and colleague Edgardo Griffith were on the hunt for the Darien’s rarest amphibians. Their quest took them to and their guide of choice was Hernan Arauz.

100 Heartbeats is an eye-opening, first-hand account written by naturalist Jeff Corwin that discusses the issue of animal extinction. This book delivers a wide view of the state in which various animal species are forced to live and adapt. Corwin emphasizes the seriousness of the situations several species of animals are encountering in today’s world compared to recent years, offering insight into the causes of animal extinction, ranging from decreased space to increased pesticide use. Because of humans and their ecological decisions, 16, 928 species are facing extinction (Corwin xi). It is up to the human race to save other species from being wiped out forever.

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    In 100 Heartbeats, Corwin makes several prominent points. One of those points is that of global warming and the effects on species and their habitats (Corwin 10). Another is how species are affected by the introduction of foreign species into native environments, such as the effects of non-native pigs negatively affecting the variety of unique bird species in Hawaii through destruction of plants and foliage needed for the birds’ survival (Corwin 82). Also, Corwin discusses the effects of pollution and disease on endangered species, such as the Yangtze River Dolphin, or the baiji whose species became extinct after the Chinese government began to allow free-flowing boat traffic, fishing, and dams on the once clean habitat of the Yangtze River (Corwin 104). Dying by unnatural means, such as poaching for use on the black market (Corwin 153), and being sold for food, such as the plight of the passenger pigeon, whose abundance in North America had dwindled by 1900 (Corwin 200), also contributes to Corwin’s commanding message about extinction.

    100 Heartbeats by Jeff Corwin is a non-fiction book that discusses endangered species, focusing on those species that are in the Hundred Heartbeat Club, which means that these species literally have only 100 animals or less of their kind with hearts that are still beating in our world (Corwin 14). Much of the book consists of accounts of Corwin’s own experiences and adventures throughout his years of experience as a naturalist coming face-to-face with critically endangered species, with explanations that give readers a background into the usually historically safe and equipped animals who, in today’s world, are being threatened by human greed and lack of consideration for the lives of these incredible creatures. 100 Heartbeats illustrates the dire need for positive human involvement if the Hundred Heartbeat Club is going to survive. Global warming and habitat loss, non-native species and pollution and disease, as well as human animal exploitation are all contributors to whether or not Earth will lose its now endangered species (Corwin 3, 73, 153).