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‘Sometimes it feels as though the whole planet has been so polluted and ravaged that there are no Edens left, but they are there to be found by those who step off the beaten track… So it was with mine.’
Fifty years ago the interior of Borneo was a pristine, virgin rainforest inhabited by uncontacted indigenous tribes and naive, virtually tame, wildlife. It was into this `Garden of Eden’ that Robin Hanbury-Tenison led one of the largest ever Royal Geographical Society expeditions, an extraordinary undertaking which triggered the global rainforest movement and illuminated, for the first time, how vital rainforests are to our planet. For 15 months, Hanbury-Tenison and a team of some of the greatest scientists in the world immersed themselves in a place and a way of life that is on the cusp of extinction.
Much of what was once a wildlife paradise is now a monocultural desert, devastated by logging and the forced settlement of nomadic tribes, where traditional ways of life and unimaginably rich and diverse species are slowly being driven to extinction. This is a story for our time, one that reminds us of the fragility of our planet and of the urgent need to preserve the last untamed places of the world.
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, OBE, DL, is the doyen of British explorers. A Founder and President of Survival International, the world's leading organisation supporting tribal peoples, he was one of the first people to bring the plight of the rainforests to the world's attention. He has been a Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society, winner of the Pio Manzu Award, an International Fellow of the Explorers Club, Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow, Trustee of the Ecological Foundation and Fellow of the Linnean Society. Among his many publications are: 'Land of Eagles' (also I.B.Tauris), 'A Question of Survival', 'A Pattern of Peoples', 'The Yanomami', 'Fragile Eden', 'The Oxford Book of Exploration', 'Mulu: The Rain Forest' and his two autobiographies, 'Worlds Apart' and 'Worlds Within', as well as a successful quartet of books about long distance rides he and Louella have made across France, China, New Zealand and Spain.
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