"Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat's Walk Across America"

Apr 11, 2016

Late one night in 2011, a large animal collided with an SUV on a Connecticut parkway. This animal was not a deer -- as is, sadly, so often the case. It was a 140-pound mountain lion...and it had been born in the Black Hills of South Dakota...in 2009! On this edition of ST, we get the details on this strange yet true story as we speak with science and nature writer William Stolzenburg, whose previous books include "Where the Wild Things Were" and "Rat Island." Stolzenburg's latest book, just out, is called "Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat's Walk Across America." As was noted of this book by Natural History Magazine: "The journey quest -- a hero's voyage toward a remote and significant goal -- is a core plot device in much of the world's best folklore and literature. Think of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Odysseus and his homeland, and, more recently, Sal Paradise in 'On the Road' or W.P. Inman in 'Cold Mountain.' The journey quest at the heart of Stolzenburg's new book features an unconventional hero to be sure, a three-year-old mountain lion who remains unnamed throughout. Yet readers will find it both compelling and insightful, a worthy addition to the narratives of young adventurers in search of riches, love, and meaning.... Stolzenburg's thoughtful and gripping narrative, in the end, is less about the sad heart of a lion on a fruitless quest, and more about the hearts and minds of the humans whose territory it traversed." And further, from Kirkus Reviews: "Stolzenburg does not minimize the importance of removing these wild animals from populated areas, but he argues persuasively that an extermination policy is unnecessary and repugnant on moral grounds.... [This is] a serious, engrossing look at issues influencing state and federal conservation policy."