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The Soul of the Rhino: A Nepali Adventure with Kings and Elephant Drivers, Billionaires and Bureaucrats, Shamans and Scientists and the Indiaby Hemanta Mishra
Synopses & Reviews
Selected as one of the best books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly
In early 2006, National Public Radio reported that “A promising conservation effort to save one of Nepals signature endangered species is now in serious trouble, due primarily to poachers taking advantage of fighting between government forces and Maoist insurgents.” This was devastating news indeed to author and scientist Hemanta Mishra, who has spent the better part of his adult life struggling to save the Indian Rhino from extinction in his native Nepal.
The Soul of the Rhino is the spirited yet humble account of Mishras unique personal journey. Fresh out of university in the 1970s, Mishra embarks on his conservation work with the help of an ornery but steadfast elephant driver, the Nepalese royal family, and handfuls of like-minded scientists whose aim is to protect the animal in the foothills of the Himalayas. Yet, in spite of decades spent creating nature reserves and moving rhinos to protected areas, arm-wrestling politicians, and raising awareness for the cause, Mishra is still fearful about the future of the Indian Rhino. To this day, Nepal is overrun by armed insurgents, political violence, and poachers who could kill off this magnificent creature for good.
Filled with candor and bittersweet humor, Mishra re-creates his journey on behalf of the rhino, an ugly yet enchanting, terrifying yet delicate creature. The first book of its kind to delve into the multi-layered political labyrinths of South Asian wildlife conservation, and one mans endurance in the face of it all, The Soul of the Rhino is sure to win over your heart and soul.
"Mishra, formerly director of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal, began his career as a wildlife officer for Nepal's Ministry of Forests in 1967, tracking rhinos through the forest of Chitwan and helping complete the ministry's first rhino census. Determined to find ways to minimize the conflicts between humans and wildlife, particularly rhinos, Mishra studied at the University of Edinburgh and at America's Yellowstone National Park before working with representatives of King Mahendra to establish Nepal's national park system and implement programs that would help eliminate poaching and increase the rhino population; 'wildlife tourism,' for instance, not only increased awareness of animals, but helped relieve local poverty, a leading motivation behind poaching. Mishra's account of his 30-year campaign to save the rhino in Nepal include stories of exotic Hindu-Buddhist rituals, royal hunts in the jungle and his relationship with the amazingly charismatic perissodactyls, which all contrast well with detailed accounts of political and diplomatic maneuvering. Mishra's tone is unavoidably melancholy describing the rhino's uncertain fate-especially the re-emergence of poaching-but the account of his worthy struggle is enchanting, even mesmerizing, throughout." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Now based in Virginia, conservationist Mishra (American Himalayan Foundation) has worked with the Smithsonian Institution, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility, and other major conservation groups. A native Nepali, he was a key player in the international team that preserved and stabilized the habitat of Nepal. He offers a fascinating personal account of three decades of conservation work in Nepal, mostly in the Royal Chitwan National Park in the foothills of the Himalayas--the last stronghold of the great one-horned Asian rhino--which describes his efforts to save the species from extinction. Academic but accessible to general readers interested in wildlife, the Himalayan region, and Hindu and Buddhist culture. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The story of a Nepalese who has spent his entire life safeguarding an endangered species
This new release is a spirited yet humble account of one man’s scientific career and personal journey to save the endangered rhinoceros in his native Nepal. Fresh out of university, Mishra began his work with aboriginal tribes, the Nepalese royal house, the World Wildlife Fund, and the World Bank to protect the animal in its Himalayan habitat. In spite of decades spent political arm-wrestling, traveling and fund-raising, Mishra is still fearful to this day that Maoist insurgents and poachers will kill off the Asian rhinoceros for good—a tragedy after all his hard-won gains. This is the first book about saving the Asian one-horned rhinoceros, and the only one to delve into the multi-layered political labyrinths of wildlife conservation in South Asia. Filled with candor and bittersweet humor, Mishra recreates his journey on behalf of the rhino, an ugly yet enchanting, terrifying yet delicate creature. In the tradition of Leakey and Fossey, Mishra will be hailed by the media as the animal’s advocate, and SOUL OF THE RHINO will quickly engage the soul of the reader.
Hemanta Mishra now lives in Virginia. This is his first book.
About the Author
Hemanta Mishra has worked with the Smithsonian Institution, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Bank, and Asian Development Bank and other major conservation groups. He was a key player in the international team that preserved and stabilized the habitat and is credited with halting the extinction of the rhino and Tiger populations in Nepal. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.
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