Mooallem tells the story of how Theodore Roosevelt spared the life of a black bear and thus inspired the creation of what is now called the “teddy bear”. The author explains how stories like this effect the existence and survival of various animals around the world.
In a world of conservation reliance, those stories have very real consequences, because now, how we feel about an animal affects its survival more than anything that you read about in ecology textbooks. Storytelling matters now. Emotion matters. Our imagination has become an ecological force.