In Search of Sanctuary: Wildlife, My Teacher

Author: Brendan Price
ISBNs: 9788494530524
Formats: eBook, Kindle, Paperback
Pages: 110
Published: 2016

A native of Dublin, Brendan Price is the founder of the Irish Seal Sanctuary, a marine biologist and lifelong wildlife activist. He now lives in a quiet country village outside Dublin called Garristown from where he continues his life’s work in wildlife advocacy and the defence of Ireland’s marine ecology. Here he tells a few of his remarkable adventures in his constant contacts with the natural search of sanctuary-v4

In the best tradition of storytelling, these timeless and universal vignettes kick off a conversation, draw you in, and inspire follow-through on the important stories of today and tomorrow.

Come travel through our natural world with a pilgrim from childhood, parenthood, and mellowing years, through landscapes of the mind as familiar to the author as the early city suburbs, mountains, and sea, where he was rooted and grew, to centre in on our place in today’s world.

As you read these reflections on Dublin and Ireland of the old century, you will also recognise your own place and time and wish to tell your story. Let your nature lead you in the telling, and your listeners carry forward ever more tales.

From the author:

“Life and history, for many, are charted by milestone events and benchmarks separated by tedious, ticking time. These benchmarks most often occur between the infinite small events that are a part of day-to-day living. This collection of stories relates some such “inch marks” that have charted the path of my life, leading me here. Animals feature in them all.

Great events give a sense of occasion for many, marking time and position – the when and where of our lives – but do not tell the how and why we came to that place at that point in time.

Mortar between bricks gives a wall its substance. Space between stones gives life to a river bed. The innumerable, unmeasurable little events between milestones, like stars in constellation, bring us to life’s landmarks, or “inch marks” to milestones. A great work of art starts with simple brushstrokes and, with that, maybe the seed of a thought in an artist’s mind, impulse inspired before that by, perhaps, the tiniest of events.

This collection of stories is a small sample about such events, involving obscure animals, which came to define my life as an animal handler.

I believe for everyone it is the same: if we pause to reflect, it is the many tiny events that shape and define the person we become, and the exchange of such stories is what makes it so exciting as we get to know one another.

For the chef, the poet, the farmer, the fisherman, the day labourer, the friend, partner, spouse, parent and child, it is the same. “Inch marks” put milestones in perspective and offer a qualitative measure of life, making more sense of quantitative leaps.

Life is made up of such stories, and history is abundant with such memories of detail, blazing a trail to historical treasure trove and leaving tracks for others to follow. My trail led from the primordial ooze of the mud and clay, weeds, vegetable patch and bushes of my back garden, to the rivers, hills and coast around Dublin. These experiences brought me to the world of zoos and captivity, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and ultimately, to the world of policy and diplomacy surrounding wildlife protection, sustainability, and human rights.

Wildlife are ambassadors for our natural world. They are the “canary in the mine” and the most efficient and economic indicators of the health of our “life-support” systems. What ails them ails humanity and, what’s more, they hold the secrets to living sustainably and harmoniously on Earth, our home.

In every story I have been led by animals. They are companions on a journey who make the miles go faster and the journey less arduous.

I hope you enjoy these stories of some of my “inch marks” as much I as enjoyed the experiences detailed herein.”

– Brendan Price

To give you a taste of the book, here are the chapter headings:

Prologue: Why I Write
Grand Central Budlia
Only the River Ran Free
The Sparrowlands
Pandora’s Box
A “Zoo” Logical Experience
Graced by Grey Seals
The Refugee Cub
Footprints in the Snow
The Princess and the Ellies
Ros Muc Mons(h)ter
Irish Molly
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man
Swimming Lessons
From my Father’s Chair
Maybe and Maybe Not
Femoral Knob Ostectomy
Midnight at X-Roads
The Native American and the Irish Stoat
Road to World Whale Sanctuary
Epilogue: Songbird
Further Reading
Author Biography

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