People have lived in the Shetland Islands, the most remote of the British Isles, for ages thanks to the animals that shared their crofts, the moors and treeless hills, their livestock surviving on forage stunted by salt spray and weathering dark winters with 100 m.p.h. blizzards. These native beasts endure, rare breeds called Shetland Pony, Shetland Sheep, Shetland 'Coo,' Shetland Goose, Shetland Duck and more. Where else can one find so many indigenous farm animals - some endangered, some just plucked from the brink of extinction? As precious as they are unsung, they prove the value of adaptation, the miracles of evolution: A Shetland pony's hair pattern sheds rainwater from the flanks lest it soak the belly and chill it... Shetland sheep know the tides and browse the shores for seaweed at the ebb... This book celebrates Shetland's unique community. Chapters by experts describe Shetland Sheep, Cattle, Pony, Goose and more, revealing their special traits; a geneticist probes heredity; a historian plumbs the past; islanders offer their views and wisdom in this anthology of life.
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