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Why are Some Animals Pests and Others Our Best Friends?

by Annika Urban

In the most recent Health Storytelling Author Q&A series, Maryn McKenna, Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Human Health, interviews Dr. Bethany Brookshire, author of PESTS: How Humans Create Animal Villains (Ecco). Brookshire, an animal enthusiast, looks to reframe how we view animals that we’ve called pests – from pigeons to Burmese pythons to elephants.

 In her exploration of these animals, their motivations, and survival, Brookshire reflects on humans as well, asking why these animals, and not others, have endured the ire of humans. In this reflection, Brookshire reveals a perspective on human nature, catalyzed by research on these animals and their interactions with humans. Brookshire is a freelance journalist and podcast host, but previously wrote for Science News for Students among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from Wake Forest University and was recently a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. 

Watch the interview here