An “exciting” true account of battling the elephant poachers of Zambia by the author of Where the Crawdads Sing and her fellow biologist (The Boston Globe).
Intelligent, majestic, and loyal, with lifespans matching our own, elephants are among the greatest of the wonders gracing the African wilds. Yet, in the 1970s and 1980s, about a thousand of these captivating creatures were slaughtered in Zambia each year, killed for their valuable ivory tusks. When biologists Mark and Delia Owens, residing in Africa to study lions, found themselves in the middle of a poaching fray, they took the only side they morally could: that of the elephants.
From the authors of Secrets of the Savanna, The Eye of the Elephant is “part adventure story, part wildlife tale,” recounting the Owens’s struggle to save these innocent animals from decimation, a journey not only to supply the natives with ways of supporting their villages, but also to cultivate support around the globe for the protection of elephants (The Boston Globe). Filled with daring exploits among disgruntled hunters, arduous labor on the African plains, and vivid depictions of various wildlife, this remarkable tale is at once an adventure story, a travelogue, a preservationist call to action, and a fascinating examination of both human and animal nature.
Each year from 1973 to 1985, an estimated 1000 elephants were slaughtered in Zambia's Luangwa Valley for their ivory tusks, skin, tails and feet; in 1991, only 12 were killed in this fashion. No little credit for saving the elephants is due to the Owenses (Cry of the Kalahari), biologists who set out to research animal behavior but stayed to persuade villagers that rather than shooting elephants, they could gain more in food, jobs and money by letting the animals live and attracting tourists to see them. The Owenses not only taught the natives crafts and trades, but also organized international support to secure a temporary ban on the sale of elephant body parts. Conscious of the dangers of substituting one evil for another, the Owenses lobby for walking safaris rather than the intrusive, destructive motorized tours popular elsewhere in Africa. Their personal story is an adventure filled with the color and scent of wild Africa, with recreations of their arduous treks through wilderness, with escapes from attempts on their lives by disgruntled Africans, and with engrossing descriptions of the lives and habits of animals. Photos.