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The Africa-wide Great Elephant Census of 2016 produced shocking fi ndings: a decimated elephant population whose numbers were continuing to plummet. Elephants are killed, on average, every 15–20 minutes – a situation that will see the fi nal demise of these intelligent, extraordinary animals in less than three decades. They are a species in crisis. This magnifi cent book offers chapters written by the most prominent people in the realm of conservation and wildlife, among them researchers, conservationists, film makers, criminologists, TV personalities and journalists. Photographs have been selected from among Africa’s best wildlife photographers, and the Foreword is provided by Prince William.
It is hoped this book will create awareness of the devastating loss of elephant lives in Africa and stem the tide of poaching and hunting; that it will inspire the delegates to CITES to make informed decisions to ensure that all loopholes in the ivory trade are closed; and that countries receiving and using ivory (both legal and poached) – primarily China, Vietnam, Laos and Japan – ban and strenuously police its trade and use within their borders, actively pursuing and arresting syndicate leaders driving the cruel poaching tsunami.
This book is also a tribute to the many people who work for the welfare of elephants, particularly those who risk their lives for wildlife each day, often for little or no pay – in particular the fi eld rangers and the anti-poaching teams; and to the many communities around Africa that have elected to work with elephants and not against them.
The Last Elephants – is the title prophetic? We hope not, but the signs are worrying.
Predictability isn’t a word you will find in any Bushveld dictionary, and the life of wildlife guardian Mario Cesare has been anything but. After years as warden of Olifants River Game Reserve, his feet are firmly planted in this magnificent slice of Big Five country to the west of the Kruger Park, where he has experienced a rich life packed full of incidents far from routine.
In Heart Of A Game Ranger, Cesare recounts some of these hair-raising, heart-breaking and heart-warming moments: a buffalo calf reunited with its pining mother, injured lions given second chances and rhinos lost, one by one, to poaching. Nestled among these tales, Cesare pays homage to the brave, dedicated and curious personalities engaged in a deadly combat on the most majestic of battlefields. Yet, while rhino poaching is by far the reserve’s biggest problem, Cesare reveals how the daily struggles of a game ranger are so much broader – and the rewards, when they come, immense.
Heart Of A Game Ranger is a story of extremes, one of fierce loyalty and devastating betrayal where spectacular days that end in exhausted satisfaction and achievement are balanced by those that leave behind only despair and frustration. Seen through his eyes and spoken from the heart, Cesare tells a deeply personal story – not only of a life lived wild, but of the joy of Africa’s incredible natural world.
In this book, Adrian Koopman describes the complex relationship between birds, the Zulu language and Zulu culture. A number of chapters look at the underlying meaning of bird names, and here we will find that the Zulu name of the Goliath Heron means ‘what gives birth to baby crocodiles’, the dikkop (umbangaqhwa) means ‘what causes frost’, and the African Hoopoe is a party-goer who wears a colourful blanket.
The book goes further than just Zulu names, exploring the underlying meanings of bird names from other South African languages and languages from Central and East Africa. Here we find birds with names that translate as ‘cool-porridge’, ‘kiss-banana-flower’ and ‘waiter-at-the-end-of-the furrow’.
A focus on Zulu traditional oral literature details the roles birds have played in Zulu praise poetry (including the praise poems of certain birds themselves) and in proverbs, riddles and children’s games. Also considered is traditional bird lore, examining the role played by various species as omens and portents, as indicators of bad luck and evil, as forecasters of rain and storm, and as harbingers of the seasons. Here we see that the Bateleur Eagle (ingqungqulu) is linked to war, the Southern Ground Hornbill (insingizi) to thunder and heavy rain, the Red-chested Cuckoo (uphezukokhono) to the start of the ploughing season, and the Jacobin Cuckoo (inkanku) to the start of summer.
Zulu Bird Names and Bird Lore discusses the Zulu Bird Name Project, a series of Zulu bird name workshops held between 2013 and 2017 with Zulu-speaking bird guides designed to confirm (or otherwise) all previously recorded Zulu names for birds, while at the same time devising new names for those without previously recorded names. The result has been a list of species-specific names for all birds in the Zulu-speaking region. Finally, the book turns to the role such new bird names can play in conservation education and in avi-tourism.
With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, breathtakingly beautiful still photography, specially commissioned maps and graphics, and compelling text expanding on the remarkable TV stories and giving the reader a depth of information that is impossible on screen, this companion to the groundbreaking NETFLIX series presents a whole new view of the place we call home.
Featuring some of the world's rarest creatures and previously unseen parts of the Earth—from deep oceans to remote forests to ice caps—Our Planet takes nature-lovers deep into the science of our natural world. Revealing the most amazing sights on Earth in unprecedented ways, alongside stories of the ways humans are affecting the world’s ecosystems—from the wildebeest migrations in Africa to the penguin colonies of Antarctica—this book captures in one concise narrative a fundamental message:
What we do in the next twenty years will determine the future of not just the natural world but humanity itself. If we don't act now to protect and preserve our planet, the beauty we're lucky enough to witness on these pages will have disappeared...
The aggressive poaching of rhinos needs to be countered with equal aggression. So argued Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the founder president of the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF), at a 1987 meeting with John Hanks, conservation expert and WWF’s head in Africa. The result was Operation lock, a secret initiative funded by Prince Bernhard and staffed by former SAS operatives. Operation lock set up headquarters in Johannesburg and extended its reach into neighbouring states: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. Its operatives planned to train game rangers, to pose as rhino horn traders in order to entrap buyers, and to expose the kingpins who were driving the trade. It was a controversial approach, all the more because it was working within apartheid South Africa in the late 1980s. When the existence of the project was finally leaked, WWF denied any involvement, and John Hanks took the fall. In Operation lock and the War on rhino poaching, John Hanks finally tells the story of these explosive events from 25 years ago. As a leading international authority on conservation, he also deals with the scourge of rhino poaching up to the present, and gives powerful and controversial criticism of some of the current policies to curb poaching.
Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
'The remarkable story of an astounding transformation' George Monbiot
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Once-common species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
This recovery has taken place against a backdrop of catastrophic loss elsewhere. According to the 2016 ‘State of Nature’ report, the UK is ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. We are living in a desert, compared with our gloriously wild past.
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’ and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us – and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.
Each year, more than one thousand rhinoceroses are killed - in South Africa alone. There are fewer than 18,000 white rhinos and only 5,000 black rhinos left alive in the wild. The situation with regard to this corrupt, illegal war on wildlife is clearly critical. And what are rhinos killed for? Their horns - sold in shavings as a snake-oil 'cure' for colds or impotence. The going price is $16,000 a kilogram, but a rhino's horn is simply keratin, the same material as our fingernails, with no magical, medicinal properties. Grant Fowlds is a passionate conservationist on the front line of protecting these iconic animals - right now, against armed poachers; but in the longer term, too, through his work with schoolchildren, communities and policymakers. He is fiercely focused on highlighting the alarming increase in rhino poaching, a scourge which has put these mighty animals at serious threat of extinction. He is a partner of Rhino Art, founded by philanthropic adventurer Kingsley Holgate. Rhino Art's 'Let the children's voices be heard' project aims to gather the largest number of children's 'Art Voices' ever recorded, in support of rhino protection, and to use these heartfelt messages from the children of Africa and elsewhere in the world as a rallying cry against rhino poaching. Grant works closely with all the biggest local and global conservation agencies, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). He has hosted Prince Harry at his family's game lodge, Leeuwenbosch, and the prince is very supportive of Grant's work.
For too long we have set ourselves apart from nature, seeing ourselves as superior, removed, independent. But in doing so we have lost sight of all that the natural world can teach us. In Eight Master Lessons of Nature, Gary Ferguson reveals the wisdom of the natural world. By keenly observing and admiring wildlife and their surroundings, he shows us why sympathy is our greatest asset and crucial to our survival, that feminine rule is default in the natural world, and how even from the ashes of destruction, life is still able to thrive. Written in rich and nourishing prose, Ferguson gently dismantles the walls we have erected between ourselves and nature, showings us the wonder of our surroundings in all their splendour. Drawing on stories from art and science, flora and fauna, philosophy and history, he carefully unravels the dazzling web of connections that binds us to earth and the rich supply of wisdom that is stored here. The result is a powerful and timely reminder of our place in this world, our interdependence, and how much nature is able to teach, heal and ultimately restore us.
A blonde, chic Parisienne, Françoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But when she fell in love with renowned conservationist Lawrence Anthony her life took an unexpected turn. Lawrence died in 2012 and Françoise was left to face the tough reality of running Thula Thula without him, even though she knew very little about conservation. She was short on money, poachers were threatening their rhinos, and one of their elephants was charging Land Rovers on game drives and terrifying guests. There was no time to mourn when Thula Thula’s human and animal family were depending on her.
How Françoise survived and Thula Thula thrived is beautifully described in this charming, funny and poignant book. Their elephant herd, rescued by Lawrence, shared Françoise's grief at his passing but over time forged a new relationship with her. One day a baby, Tom, became separated from the herd and found his way into Françoise's kitchen. Another day there was a desperate race against time to save a baby who had a snare wrapped round his face and couldn't open his mouth to suckle.
Meanwhile Françoise fulfilled her dream of building a rescue centre for orphaned rhinos and other wildlife. Abandoned hippo baby Charlie, who hated water, joined the centre's rhinos and quickly became best friends with a little girl rhino called Makhosi. The traumatised babies had round the clock care, including an unlikely nursemaid in the form of a German Shepherd called Duma. If you loved Lawrence's The Elephant Whisperer, or just want to spend time with some very special animals, then you won’t want to miss this sparkling book.
The remarkable story of Grant Fowlds, a conservationist who has dedicated his life to saving the last rhinos, vividly told with the help of Graham Spence, co-author of the bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.
What would drive a man to ‘smuggle’ rhino horn back into Africa at great risk to himself? This is just one of the situations Grant Fowlds has put himself in as part of his ongoing fight against poaching, in order to prove a link between southern Africa and the illicit, lucrative trade in rhino horn in Vietnam.
Shavings of rhino horn are sold as a snake-oil ‘cure’ for colds or impotence, but a rhino’s horn has no magical, medicinal properties. It is for this that rhinoceroses are being killed at an escalating rate that puts the survival of the species in jeopardy. This corrupt, illegal war on wildlife has brought an iconic animal to the brink of extinction.
Growing up on a farm in the eastern Cape of South Africa, Grant developed a deep love of nature, turning his back on hunting to focus on saving wildlife of all kinds and the environment that sustains both them and us. He is a passionate conservationist who puts himself on the front line of protecting rhinos in the wild – right now, against armed poachers; but in the longer term, too, through his work with schoolchildren, communities and policymakers.
In 2016 the number of rhinos poached in South Africa stood at 1054 (Department of Environmental Affairs). In 2017, 529 rhinos had been slaughtered by 24th July. In the last nine years, over 6100 rhinos have been poached in South Africa leaving fewer than 19000 white, and 2000 black rhinos in the country. The situation is critical.
How is South Africa going to sustain the cost of securing rhino while the belief continues to persist that the enemy lies elsewhere in Southeast Asia? The Walkers believe that the problem actually lies in South Africa’s own backyard. This book discusses corruption and the criminal justice system, the need for more community engagement and the costs of protection. It also looks at how far we have come since the rhino wars in the 1980s and the rhino trade debate.
We have to shift from the negative to an element of the positive. People are tired of seeing dead and dying rhino. There is some optimism due to the excellent work being undertaken by the state and the private sector at many levels in security, tourism, community involvement and environmental education, as well as NGO support.
Rhino Revolution testifies to the many people doing just that. The rhino war in South Africa has entered its 10th year, and last year saw 662 rhino killed in Kruger alone – and over 1000 in total for South Africa. Clive and Anton Walker, authors of the bestselling Rhino Keepers (2012), have once again come up with a fresh, new look at the ongoing rhino crisis. With magnificent photographs and afterwords by John Hanks and Yolan Friedman.
For a sustainable urban future to be possible, a new botanical discipline is needed to deepen our understanding of the relations between people and plants. This discipline will link environmental management concerns with those of human welfare and wellbeing in a specifically urban context to achieve both ecological restorations and social redress. The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust has published The Durban Forest as an early effort to establish a manifesto for this much-needed new discipline, and provides both historical and forward-looking perspectives on the changing relations between natural areas and urban dwellers. These relations urgently await our exploration if we are to face the challenges of the accelerating urbanism and environmental change that are now upon us. The Durban forest will appeal to all those interested in people and the environment, culture and community, our past and our future. Most of all, it will speak to the Durban of tomorrow and suggest a new kind of botany that will help to build a future for all Durban’s residents that is environmentally, socially and economically more just and more secure. The Durban forest is the first in a series of publications planned by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust. The series is to be entitled umKhuhlu, the African name for Trichilia dregeana, the forest mahogany and an iconic Durban tree. The series will draw on the garden’s reputation as Durban’s oldest, and one of its most treasured public institutions in order to encourage a new model of plant use. This model aspires to a specific urban, humanitarian and restorative focus that will support a just and resilient urbanism.
Environmentalist, independent researcher and author, Gareth Patterson has spent his entire adult life working tirelessly for the greater protection of African wildlife and, more particularly, for that of the lion. Born in England in 1963, Gareth grew up in Nigeria and Malawi. From an early age he knew where his life’s path would take him – it would be in Africa, and his life’s work would be for the cause of the African wilderness and its wild inhabitants. His is an all-encompassing African story.
From his childhood in West and East Africa to his study of a threatened lion population in a private reserve in Botswana to his work with George Adamson, celebrated as the ‘Lion Man’ of Africa, we witness Gareth’s growing commitment to his life’s mission. This is nowhere more evident than in his account of his life as a human member of a lion pride, experiencing life and death through its eyes, as he successfully rehabilitated three famous orphaned lion cubs back into a life in the wilds. At considerable risk to his own personal safety, he exposed the sordid canned lion ‘industry’ in South Africa, bringing this shameful practice to international attention.
After moving to the Western Cape he took up the fight for the African elephant, notably the unique endangered Knysna population, and published his astonishing findings in his 2009 book The Secret Elephants. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the stressful nature of his work, Gareth suffered a massive physical and mental breakdown in his forties, which he discusses here for the first time with an openness that underlines his courage. Lesser men might have been broken, but his ‘lion’s heart’ fought back and he ultimately overcame his illness.
Gareth Patterson’s long-awaited autobiography is a moving account of one man’s single-minded dedication to the preservation of Africa’s wildlife. It is also a stark reminder that if the human race does not want to lose Africa’s priceless wild heritage there is no time to waste.
`Focuses a razor light on the plight of one of our most iconic birds. Inspirational!' Tim Birkhead Curlews are Britain's largest wading bird, known for their evocative calls which embody wild places; they provoke a range of emotions that many have expressed in poetry, art and music. A bird stands alone on the edge of a mudflat. Its silhouette is unmistakable. A plump body sits atop stilty legs. The long neck arcs into a small head, which tapers further into a long curved bill. The smooth, convex outlines of this curlew are alluring. They touch some ancestral liking we all have for shapes that are round and smooth. Over the last 20 years numbers in the UK have halved; the Eurasian Curlew is one of our most endangered birds. With a quarter of the world population breeding in the UK and Ireland, this is nothing short of a disaster. The curlew is showing all the signs of being the next Great Auk. In Curlew Moon, Mary Colwell takes us on a 500-mile journey on foot from the west coast of Ireland to the east coast of England, to discover what is happening to this beautiful and much-loved bird. She sets off in early spring when the birds are arriving on their breeding grounds, watches them nesting in the hills of Wales and walks through England when the young are hatching. She finishes her walk on the coast of Lincolnshire when the fledglings are trying out their wings. This is also the place many curlews will return to for the winter months. This evocative book chronicles Colwell's impressive journey, with beautiful illustrations by Jessica Holm, weaving a gentle tale of discovery interspersed with the natural history of this iconic bird that has fascinated us for millennia - and so desperately needs our help.
`To see a hare sit still as stone, to watch a hare boxing on a frosty March morning, to witness a hare bolt . . . these are great things. Every field should have a hare.' The hare, a night creature and country-dweller, is a rare sight for most people. We know them only from legends and stories. They are shape-shifters, witches' familiars and symbols of fertility. They are arrogant, as in Aesop's The Hare and the Tortoise, and absurd, as in Lewis Carroll's Mad March Hare. In the absence of observed facts, speculation and fantasy have flourished. But real hares? What are they like? In The Book of the Hare, John Lewis-Stempel explores myths, history and the reality of the hare. And in vivid, elegant prose he celebrates how, in an age when television cameras have revealed so much in our landscape, the hare remains as elusive and magical as ever.
'Endangered means we still have time, but extinction is forever' Grant Fowlds In 2016 the number of rhinos poached in South Africa stood at 1,054 (Department of Environmental Affairs). In 2017, 529 rhinos had been slaughtered by 24th July. In the last nine years, over 6,100 rhinos have been poached in South Africa leaving fewer than 19,000 white, and 2,000 black rhinos in the country. The situation is critical. Grant Fowlds is a passionate conservationist who puts himself in the front line, on the ground, where it matters. He is deeply focused on highlighting the vast increase in rhino poaching, a scourge which has placed these mighty animals under serious threat of extinction. He is a partner of Rhino Art with the founder, philanthropic adventurer, Kingsley Holgate. Rhino Art -- 'Let the children's voices be heard' -- Project's aim is to gather the largest number of children's 'Art Voices' ever recorded, in support of Rhino Protection, and to use these 'Hearts and Minds' messages from the children of Africa as a worldwide call to action against rhino poaching. On a broader level he works closely with all of the biggest global and local conservation agencies, including WWF.
Long considered one of the most respected authorities on the history and geography of the Adirondack region, award-winning author and conservationist Barbara McMartin focuses on the uniqueness of the forty-four individual tracts that make up the two-and-one-half-million-acre Forest Preserve within the Adirondack Park.
In The Adirondack Park McMartin has aptly likened the various wild forests, wilderness, recreation and primitive areas to a patchwork quilt, with landscapes connecting to jagged boundaries following rivers and narrow valleys.
Sidebars of "views and visits" give readers an insider's advantage to making the most of any Adirondack expedition. With a storyteller's ease, McMartin provides a brief history and description of each area. She chronicles the preserve's unusual origins, people, politics, and economics that created what is now one of the most important wilderness areas in the eastern United States.
Skillfully combining the results of meticulous research and her life-long passion and advocacy for the Adirondack region, she illuminates the story of how the land parcels were pieced together to become the most sought-after and protected acreage in the east. The book is generously interspersed with maps and vivid geographic descriptions of the forest cover, lakes, mountains, and natural and human history.
'The most magical book about the African bush since Born Free' -
'Delightful... Pavey writes with warmth and spirit, and brings this space to life' Penelope Lively 'Captivating and grounded... If this book was not as much a pleasure to write as it is to read, I'll eat my hat and gardening glove' Observer After years spent living amid the thrum of London, Ruth Pavey yearned to reconnect with the British countryside and she endeavoured to realise her long-held dream of planting a wood. Touring to the West Country in the late 1990s, Pavey found herself in the Somerset Levels. On seeing this expanse of reclaimed land under its wide, soft skies she was struck by its beauty and set-out to plant a wood, tree by tree. She bought four acres, and over the years transformed them into a haven where woodland plants and creatures could flourish an emblem of enduring life in a changeable world. A Wood of One's Own is the story of how she grew to understand and then shape this derelict land into an enduring legacy a verdant landscape rich with wildlife. Interwoven with Pavey's candid descriptions of the practical challenges she faced are forays into the Levels' local history, as well as thoughtful portraits of its inhabitants both past and present. Accompanied throughout by the author's evocative hand-drawn illustrations, A Wood of One's Own is a lyrical, beguiling and inspiring story; a potent reminder of nature's delicate balance, and its comforting and abiding presence.
With unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, The Elephant Whisperer is an enthralling book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere. When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival - dangerous and unpredictable, they would be killed if Anthony wouldn't take them in. As Anthony risked his life to create a bond with the troubled elephants and persuade them to stay on his reserve, he came to realize what a special family they were, from the wise matriarch Nana, who guided the herd, to her warrior sister Frankie, always ready to see off any threat, and their children who fought so hard to survive.
Game capture is still a relatively new science, with little published data on species' requirements in terms of logistics and the level of stress with which they can cope. Knowledge has mostly been gained through field experience, which is often jealously guarded.
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