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Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Storyby Daphne Sheldrick
Synopses & Reviews
From flat-topped acacia trees to great migrations of wildebeest across an edgeless expanse of grass, the Serengeti is one of the worldandrsquo;s most renowned ecosystems. And at the apex of this incredible landscape prowls its seemingly indomitable ruler: the Serengeti lion. These majestic mammals are skillful hunters, iconic, and integral to Serengeti health. But they also commit infanticide, eat local people and destroy local livelihoods, are a source of profit for those who make money shooting or conserving them (and sometimes both), and are in constant danger from the encroachments of another species: humans.
With Lions in the Balance, celebrated lion researcher and conservationist Craig Packer takes us back into the complex, tooth-and-claw worlds of lion conservation and behavior. A sequel to Packerandrsquo;s Into Africaandmdash;which gave many readers their first experience of field work in Africa, of Tanzanian roads, of long hours spent identifying lions by their ear marks and scars, and of the joys of bootlegged Grateful Dead tapes beneath savannah moonsandmdash;this diary-based chronicle of adventure, real-life danger, and corruption will both alarm and entertain. Packerandrsquo;s story offers a look into the future of the lion, one in which the politics of conservation will require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than any now possessed by the citizens of the savannahandmdash;humans included.
Packer is sure to infuriate poachers, politicians, and conservationists alike as he minces no words about the problems he sees. But with a narrative stretching from Arusha to Washington, DC, and marked by Packerandrsquo;s signature humor and incredible candor, Lions in the Balance is a tale of courage against impossible odds, a masterly blend of science and storytelling, and an urgent call to action that will captivate a pride of readers.
"Conservationist Sheldrick (Animal Kingdom) gives a lyrical yet droll voice to her rollicking life in Kenya, where she has spent more than 50 years rehabilitating orphaned wildlife. After a peaceable divorce from her first husband, the author marries David Sheldrick, warden of Tsavo National Park, a relationship rooted in their shared passion for assisting feral creatures and preserving the natural world. Against the backdrop of the Mau Mau rebellion and the dawn of the Republic of Kenya, Sheldrick rears two daughters and acclimates to a range of extraordinary new living arrangements that enable David to develop Tsavo into a haven for both animals and eco-tourists. In addition to peppering the book with tender anecdotes about her quirky animal crew (especially Eleanor, her elephant companion of more than 40 years), Sheldrick forcefully captures the conflicts David faces at Tsavo: fighting ivory poachers, agonizing over a mandated elephant slaughter, and challenging a research team planning a needless elephant cull. After her husband's death, Sheldrick becomes chair of the internationally known David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and keeps busy caring for orphaned animals whom she calls 'my solace, my companions, and my sanity.' This rich memoir offers practical insights about learning when to intervene and when to let go. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville Walsh." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Serengeti is one of the worldand#8217;s most renowned ecosystems, and at its apex prowls the Serengeti Lion.and#160; These majestic mammals are iconic, and integral, and also in constant danger from encroaching humans.and#160; Craig Packer is among the unique species that has spent a lifetime ensuring the study and perpetuity of these dark maned cats.and#160; He has dedicated countless research hours and dollars to the coexistence of humans and wildlife in the Serengeti.and#160; He has even proposed ways of using lion hunting to ensure their value, and hence their protection.and#160; Lions in the Balance takes us into the red-in-tooth-and-claw world of lion conservation.and#160; It is an incredibly candid, entertaining, and at points alarming look at what the future of the Serengeti lions entails, and how the politics of conservation require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than what animals (humans included) on the savannas must possess.
A sequel to Mr. Packerand#8217;s Into Africa, this diary based chronicle of the past decade draws readers along the dusty trails and into the spectacular sunsets of the Serengeti. Through his experiences we learn that female lions prefer their male manes dark and long, that lion attacks on humans most commonly occur during the full moon cycles, and that citizen science is shaping the worldand#151;Packerand#8217;s initiative Snapshot Serengeti hasand#160; helped engage globally, and locally, and has identified thousands of images of the Serengeti.and#160; The narrative moves from Arusha to the Serengeti to Washington DC, and with some temporal hopping, as often the stories are as rich and multilayered as the Serengeti ecosystem. And Mr. Packer demonstrates that he possesses himself a bit of cat, having needed nearly nine lives to persist in the ever dynamic and vexed world of conservation in Africa.
Meet Greg. Heandrsquo;s a stocky guy with an outsized swagger. Heandrsquo;s been the intimidating yet sociable don of his posse of friendsandmdash;including Abe, Keith, Mike, Kevin, Torn Trunk, and Willie. But one arid summer the tide begins to shift and the third-ranking Kevin starts to get ambitious, seeking a higher position within this social club. But this is no ordinary tale of gangland betrayalandmdash;Greg and his entourage are bull elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia, where, for the last twenty-three years, Caitlin Oandrsquo;Connell has been a keen observer of their complicated friendships.
In Elephant Don, Oandrsquo;Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, offers a rare inside look at the social world of African male elephants. Elephant Don tracks Greg and his group of bulls as Oandrsquo;Connell tries to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A frequently heart-wrenching portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, it vividly captures an incredible repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. and#160;Greg, Oandrsquo;Connell shows, is sometimes a tyrant and other times a benevolent dictator as he attempts to hold onto his position at the top. Though Elephant Don is Gregandrsquo;s story, it is also the story of Oandrsquo;Connell and the challenges and triumphs of field research in environs more hospitable to lions and snakes than scientists.
Readers will be drawn into dramatic tales of an elephant society at once exotic and surprisingly familiar, as Oandrsquo;Connellandrsquo;s decades of close research reveal extraordinary discoveries about a male society not wholly unlike our own. Surely weandrsquo;ve all known a Greg or two, and through this book we may come to know them in a whole new light.
“Astonishing...You may be tempted after the last page to sell all your possessions and join [Sheldricks] cause.”—The Boston Globe
The first person to successfully raise newborn elephants, Dame Daphne Sheldrick has saved countless African animals from certain death. In this indelible and deeply heartfelt memoir, Daphne tells of her remarkable career as a conservationist and introduces us to a whole host of orphans—including Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope, and the majestic elephant Eleanor. Yet she also shares the incredible human story of her relationship with David Sheldrick, the famous Tsavo National Park warden whose death inspired the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the orphans nursery, where Daphne works to this day. From her tireless campaign to preserve Kenyas wildlife to the astonishing creatures she befriended along the way, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing rare insight into the life of one of the worlds most fascinating women.
About the Author
Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author, conservationist, and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild. From 1955 to 1976, Sheldrick was co-warden of Kenyas Tsavo National Park.
Table of Contents
Kissing of the Ring
Journey to Mushara
The Head That Wears the Crown
Introduction to the Boysand#8217; Club
Coalitions and a Fall from Grace
The Domino Effect
Capo di Tutti Capi
Of Musth and Other Demons
The Emotional Elephant
The Don Back in the Driverand#8217;s Seat
Sniffing Out Your Relatives
Where Are the Boys in Gray?
A Case for Dishonest Signaling
The Don under Fire
Black Mamba in Camp
Baying at a Testosterone-Filled Moon
A Deposed Don
The Don Returns
Scramble for Power
The Royal Family
The Politics of Family
A New Beginning
Captions for Chapter-Opening Photos
What Our Readers Are Saying
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