For two young mountain lions born in central California, where cityscape meets wilderness, life isn't easy. Soon after their mother leaves them to fend for themselves, a dominant male puma attacks, sending them running. The brother who dashes across a treacherous highway is hit by a truck and killed. The brother who hides up a tree survives. And so the journey begins.
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey follows the lone brother, who local scientists tag as C-8, as he navigates what humans have done to the landscape.
Drawing from meticulous research, conservation scientist Tiffany Yap weaves together many diverse animal and human stories, celebrating the beauty and wonder of ecology, interconnectivity, and representation. With artist Meital Smith's spectacular illustrations in the rich gold and earth tones of central California, this debut graphic novel inspires and teaches us what it means to share and protect this earth together.
Cougars avoid the sound of humans talking but aren't bothered by frog sounds? Coyotes and badgers sometimes hunt together? An ube donut with toasted coconut is really a thing? These are just a few fantastic facts the reader will learn from Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey.
Through the dynamic chemistry of Meital Smith's engaging images and Dr. Tiffany Yap's deep knowledge of biodiversity and human diversity, the reader is invited to explore the world of C-8, a brave and curious cougar that transects the beauty and danger of natural and man-made habitats. A must-read for young scientists, those who love to nerd out about biodiversity, like me, and simply anyone who cares about living in a flourishing world.
Dr. Yap sheds light on how humans and our natural world interact in both seen and unseen ways and compassionately and inclusively teaches us how to be better stewards of wildlife and the natural environment and better caretakers for our beloved pets, livestock, and children. Both obvious and subtle, Dr. Yap reminds us of two inextricable messages: When biodiversity thrives, we all thrive, and when human diversity thrives, we all thrive.
–Marcelo Bonta, Co-founder of the Center for Diversity & the Environment and Co-founder of Environmental Professionals of Color
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey combines everything that I love: animals, science, beautiful illustrations and a compelling narrative. This book is so rich in detail about the puma and its ecosystem, and I enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at how scientists study them. I especially admired how Tiffany Yap portrays the puma's interactions with humans, showing, for example, non-violent solutions to prevent conflict with landowners, which to me demonstrates a compassion to animals and people that I rarely see in conservation stories.
–Eli Chen, science audio journalist
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey is a deep dive into the lives of North America's most elusive cats. I would gladly recommend this book to both newcomers to the mysterious world of the puma and to my graduate students studying puma ecology alike!
–Chris Wilmers, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at UC Santa Cruz and Director of the Santa Cruz Puma Project
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey will speak to all Californians for its beautiful yet haunting look into the nature that surrounds us. At the very least, it will check "crying because of a mountain lion" off the literary bucket list.
–Laura Gao, author of Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American