The Lost Species Handbook

The Lost Species Handbook: from the everyday to the extraordinary. An illustrated guide by artist Prof. Lucy Orta with texts by historian Sophie Page.

The Lost Species Handbook

This illustrated species handbook is designed to give the reader insights into the beauty and diversity of Britain’s wildlife, and understanding of how humans have contributed to its decline. Animals are an integral part of our everyday lives, but we are losing a sense of the deeper cultural and spiritual connections we once had with them. We treat pigeons and other creatures as pests, destroy wildlife habitats and use harmful chemicals in farming. Many species have vanished or are disappearing from our landscapes. Some, like wolves, bears and lynxes, may never overcome the obstacles to reintroduction. Others, such as beavers, wild boar and white-tailed eagles can flourish if we rewild our landscapes to repair damaged ecosystems.


The handbook introduces thirty-seven mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and imaginary creatures and takes a closer look at some of the social and symbolic bonds humans and animals once shared. By learning about the relationships humans had with wild and domesticated, real and mythical, common and rare animals we readers gain a more holistic understanding of our environment’s rich history and challenging present.