In a remote forested region, near where Russia, China, and North Korea meet, is the only place where brown bears, tigers, and leopards coexist. It is also home to one of nature’s rarest birds—the Blakiston’s fish owl. A chance encounter with this huge, strange bird changed wildlife researcher Jonathan Slaght’s life beyond measure.
In this livestreamed presentation based on his book Owls of the Eastern Ice: The Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl, Slaght shares the story of his months-long trek covering thousands of miles, spurred by his deep fascination with safeguarding the elusive owl from extinction. He takes us on a journey through Eastern Russia with a small team for late-night monitoring missions and on mad dashes across thawing rivers. Slaught recounts the surreal connections he made drinking vodka with mystics, hermits, and scientists while listening to fireside tales of Amur tigers—all the while never losing sight of the most captivating wild beings of all: the fish owls themselves. With his absorbing account, Slaght asks us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world, as he himself reflects on what it means to devote one’s career to a single pursuit.
Jonathan Slaght is a wildlife biologist and author who works full time for the Wildlife Conservation Society as the Russia and Northeast Asia Coordinator. His writings, scientific research, and photographs have been featured by the BBC World Service, the New York Times, The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Audubon Magazine, among others.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.