Glimpse inside the last inland temperate rainforest

Endangered species and landscapes vividly captured in a new book.

  • When the valley between the Selkirks and the Purcells around Trout Lake (British Columbia) was logged, these ancient cedars were spared. This monument to a lost forest reminds us what remians in other parts of the Caribou Rainforest.

  • A Canada lynx in the Mission Range, Montana.

  • Snowshoe hares turn pure white in winter as camouflage from visual predators such as the Canada lynx.

  • A Coeur d'Alene Oregonian snail (Cryptomastix mullani) explores the rainforest.

  • The remains of a bull moose that was killed and fed on by a pack of wolves in the Selkirk Mountains in Washington State.

  • On it's sprawling journey upstream from the ocean, a Chinook salmon leaps in a tumult of white water on the Clearwater River, Cariboo Mountains.

  • Each spring, mountain caribou migrate down to valley bottoms to feed on greening shrubs while they wait for the snow to melt at higher elevations.

  • A bighorn sheep ewe and kid. Bighorn habitat overlaps with that of mountain goats and cairbou.

  • A grizzly bear scent marks a tree at the edge of a wet meadow in the southern Selkirk Mountains.

  • Patchwork, high-elevation clear-cuts like the ones shown here in the Hart Ranges fragment the refuge habitat that mountain caribou depend on.

  • Mountain caribou use the sprawling forests of the region as a refuge from predators.


The last caribou in the Lower 48 lived in a rare sliver of North American rainforest that stretches from western Canada into the Pacific Northwest. Both the species and landscape are endangered. In Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope, biologist David Moskowitz mixes descriptions of caribou and their ecosystem with the history of industrial logging, climate change and habitat loss. Moskowitz’s photographs are real treasures — precious glimpses of the vanishing mountain rainforest.

Moskowitz looks with clear eyes at the mountain caribou’s dire state. If they go extinct, he writes, we should still strive to protect the remaining slivers of rainforest. But it’s too late for the caribou in the U.S.: In January, biologists captured the last female woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains, where Idaho, Washington and British Columbia meet, relocating it to a breeding facility in Canada. (See “The last woodland caribou has left the Lower 48.”) If caribou in the Lower 48 are effectively extinct, Moskowitz’s book becomes a fitting elegy for a lost world.

Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope,
By David Moskowitz. 192 pages,
hardcover: $29.95. Braided River, 2018