The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African

The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness I sometimes forgot this was nonfiction I m inspired by their integrity. Yes, it took me exactly 4 months to finish this book but chalk that up to life, not this book This was a fabulous read of powerful people doing all they can to save powerful, hunted animals in a country set against them It was a wild journey following Mark and Delia from a desert to a forest, all the time doing what they can to research and save elephants and lions There swritten by them with the same topic, so I hope to pick up another soon I really wanted to love this book I tried The information and the story of what these two conservationists have done is amazing, however the overly flowery descriptions and romanticized views of Africa almost drowned out the reason for the book In North Lunagwa National Park in Zambia the elephants were poached almost out of existence To make matters worse, the game rangers and politicians were corrupt and in on it These were very important changes that these two wonderful people made to th I really wanted to love this book I tried The information and the story of what these two conservationists have done is amazing, however the overly flowery descriptions and romanticized views of Africa almost drowned out the reason for the book In North Lunagwa National Park in Zambia the elephants were poached almost out of existence To make matters worse, the game rangers and politicians were corrupt and in on it These were very important changes that these two wonderful people made to this country, giving them jobs and a means to support themselves without poaching This could have been such a powerful book without all the ooey gooey descriptions It felt like they were trying way too hard to make it read like a novel instead of letting it be a nonfiction account of what happened The story was fascinating enough on its own Well, they succeeded It read like a novela really bad novel This was Nonfiction on Elephant preservation in Africa The story that the authors share takes place mostly in the 1980 s It was kind of fascinating watching their life unfold They were dedicated to living with and protecting African wildlife This book centered on lions, then elephants It was so sad that there was so much poaching going on Such tragedy, but poaching was a living for the locals.Strong and old tradition are strong and often times heavy anchors that keeps people from moving in This was Nonfiction on Elephant preservation in Africa The story that the authors share takes place mostly in the 1980 s It was kind of fascinating watching their life unfold They were dedicated to living with and protecting African wildlife This book centered on lions, then elephants It was so sad that there was so much poaching going on Such tragedy, but poaching was a living for the locals.Strong and old tradition are strong and often times heavy anchors that keeps people from moving into the future That is the message that I got when the authors tried to get the locals to care about conservation when it came to elephants There was a line that I said something like hungry people don t care about conservation I m paraphrasing there, but it conveyed much I enjoyed the message in this one, so 4 stars The Eye of the Elephant An Epic Adventure in the African Wildernessis a direct sequel to the memoirCry of the Kalahariby husband and wife wildlife research team Cordelia Dykes Owens Delia and Mark James Owens It picks up right where the latter book left off, but continues the saga in Zambia where the Owenses go to continue studying and protecting African wildlife The overall presentation and structure of the narrative issuspenseful and designed to impress upon the reader thThe Eye of the Elephant An Epic Adventure in the African Wildernessis a direct sequel to the memoirCry of the Kalahariby husband and wife wildlife research team Cordelia Dykes Owens Delia and Mark James Owens It picks up right where the latter book left off, but continues the saga in Zambia where the Owenses go to continue studying and protecting African wildlife The overall presentation and structure of the narrative issuspenseful and designed to impress upon the reader the struggles faced by the authors and the struggles that portions of Africa continue to deal with in the face of poverty, apathy to change, systemic corruption at all levels, and coexisting with wildlife in a place that has been forsaken by globalism.Although the book is very much a direct sequel, it is written in the present continuous tense, which takes some getting used to and is different from the present tense used in some works of fiction, memoirs, and the past tense used in the Owenses prequel Cry of the Kalahari Some readers may find this book less compelling to read as a result, however the ordeals that the Owenses experience and work to overcome are no less real or challenging.Like Cry of the Kalahari, a major focus of the memoir is the way in which the Owenses live in the wilderness and the challenges they have as foreigners and researchers in accomplishing their goals Unlike the prequel, The Eye of the Elephant deals significantly less with animal interactions and behavior and instead focuses on the interactions and behavior of the people living in villages in and around North Luangwa Valley Great lengths are taken to accurately portray the characters and beliefs of the diverse peoples of this area, despite sharing some of the same cultural traditions and backgrounds The Owenses do a very good job of bringing their surroundings and accomplishments to life and over 20 color photos add further examples of the wildlife that they routinely encountered and some of the successes and failures that the Owenses had during their years in Zambia The Eye of the Elephant concludes with a postscript reflecting on the couple s efforts in both Botswana and Zambia There are also two appendices, one reiterating the Owenses suggestion on conserving Kalahari wildlife and the other detailing the 1989 international ivory trade ban and its immediate impacts on elephant poaching, populations, and ultimately their conservation in Africa Forbackground information about the Owenses and their experiences in Africa, including synopses, quotations from the books, and interviews with people in that area, please see the April 5, 2010 New Yorker article titled The Hunted Did American conservationists in Africa go too far Other Books by the Authors Mark and Delia Owens have co written two other books that are highly recommendedCry of the Kalahariis the prequel to their journey to Zambia and takes place in Botswana s robust Kalahari Desert It is a necessary read before picking up The Eye of the Elephant and may befascinating to casual readersSecrets of the Savanna Twenty three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries of Elephants and Peoplecontributes further details about the couples experiences in Zambia with a focus on the human element of conservation.Further Reading Those interested in some lighter reading relating to living in the wild and wildlife behavior would be wise to look up Kobie Kr ger sThe Wilderness Family , a warm and vibrant depiction of the reality of the South African Lowveld as experienced by her game warden husband and their family living inside the world famous Kruger National Park in South Africa The Wilderness Family combines the same sense of freedom in the wild as well as anecdotes about coexisting with wildlife and animal behavior as Cry of the Kalahari and in an evenreadable format.Readers who enjoy reading about wildlife behavior and conservationists in Africa may also be interested in Gareth Patterson s continuing work in Africa Patterson has written several books includingTo Walk with Lions ,Last of the Free , andMy Lion s Heart A Life for the Lions of Africa , which detail lion instincts, behavior, and the challenges involved in raising lions and what considerations must be made before lions can be considered for release back into the wild Was written very well, and had a lot of very valuable information about the poaching problems of Africa in the 80 s 90 s Had a very valuable lesson but also gave a good story about one couples determination on saving wild Africa I enjoyed reading it. An excellent book written by Delia Owens and her husband Mark Owens, they lived in the wilderness of Africa for about 30 years studying African Animals Delia is now the author of her first novel, WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, Loved it Loved this caveat from the beginning of this enlightening book The names of the innocent in this book have been changed to protect them from the guilty the names of the guilty have been changed to protect us The rest of this story is true And I loved that they quote one of my favorite poets, the former poet laureate of Oregon, William Stafford, happy to find him so far from his usual muse, The most present of all the watchers where we camped were the animals that stood beyond the fireligh Loved this caveat from the beginning of this enlightening book The names of the innocent in this book have been changed to protect them from the guilty the names of the guilty have been changed to protect us The rest of this story is true And I loved that they quote one of my favorite poets, the former poet laureate of Oregon, William Stafford, happy to find him so far from his usual muse, The most present of all the watchers where we camped were the animals that stood beyond the firelight, being dark, but there, and making no sound They were the most remembered eyes that night I m reading all of the Owens books in order in preparation for an upcoming trip to that part of the world so it s hard not to compare the three volumes In general, I preferred the Cry of the Kalahari, which is a bit hypocritical of me as what I enjoyed in that tale was the focus on wildlife, but I did wonder about their encounters with local people Conversely, my criticism of this book was that I wanted to learnabout the wildlife and less about the people Alas.There is this lovely language written by Delia about the elephant named Survivor that comes to their camp to eat the marula fruits and speaks to the book s title, He shows neither surprise nor concern, and I stare into the gray forever of an elephant s eye Followed by this sobering bit, Such an incident may take place in other areas of Africa, but not in the northern Luangwa Valley of Zambia In the last fifteen years, one hundred thousand elephants have been slaughtered by poachers in this valley Here elephants usually run at the first sight or scent of man I want to remember always the deep furrows of folded skin above Survivor s lashes, his moist and glistening eye, which now reflects the sunrise Surely this will never happen to me again the memory must last a lifetime And I must never forget the way I feel, for at this moment I can see everything so clearly we estimate that poachers have already killedthan twelve thousand of the park s seventeen thousand elephants, about three of every four, and a thousandare dying each year Since 1973 between seventy five thousand and one hundred thousand elephants have been poached in the Luangwa Valley as a whole that s roughly one for every word in this book Perhaps twenty thousand to thirty thousand elephants are left in Luangwa, and nothan five thousand in the North Park At this rate they will all have perished in four to five years So, yes, of course we had to read about the people and I did love meeting them for the most part Several women, wrapped in brightly colored chitengis, pause from stamping their mealies, their long poles poised above the hollow tree stumps they use as stamping blocks, or mortars, for crushing the maize kernels The Owens eviction from Botswana as chronicled in The Cry of the Kalahari because of their criticism of the cattle industry and construction of fences was nicely summarized as such, Like the wildebeest, we could no longer move freely into the desert we were another casualty of the fences My son currently lives in Namibia and we are heading there to visit soon, so it was good to read this snapshot in time from the authors search for a place to continue their research back in the 1980 s Standing over a map of Africa, we eliminated one country after another The continent seemed to come apart in pieces Angola and Mozambique were torn with civil wars Namibia was under attack from SWAPO the South West Africa People s Organization , and human overpopulation had just about finished off the wildlife in western Africa Sudan was out the Frankfurt Zoological Society, our sponsors, had recently lost a camp to the Sudanese Liberation Army, which had kidnapped the staff members and held them for ransom As Mark s hand swept across the map, wild Africa seemed to shrink before our eyes And since the Caprivi Strip is also on our itinerary, we can give thanks that this conversation took place decades ago And Sioma Park, down in the southwest What is the situation there I asked Well, again it s the security problem Sioma is right on the Caprivi Strip, which is South African territory Freedom fighters from Angola cross the strip into Botswana on their way to South Africa The South African army is trying to stop them It would be unsafe for you to work there So, I learned these bits of what seems like trivia from where I currently sit, but might be ofimportance were one, say, camping in Zambia, Lion roars can carrythan five miles in the desert the fact that we could hear them didn t mean they were close Elephants can move through the bush as quietly as kittens, but when they feed, they make a noisy racket as they strip leaves from a branch or topple small trees WHOOOO HUH HUH HUH MPOOOSH The sound, like a humpback whale playing a bassoon, echoes from our left Hippos Confirming what my son has mentioned regarding the perils of farming alongside the hippo filled river where he lives, they write, They left the valley willingly, the chief tells us, because the Mwaleshi hippos ate their crops and made farming impossible It was both enlightening and sobering to learn that the poaching of adult males and females has permanently impacted the elephant social and family structure as such, the great herds of yesteryear, they are not the same An elephant s ivory grows during all its life so does its wisdom Most of the musth males and matriarchs are dead, and along with them much of the knowledge, experience, and memories of elephant society This younger generation carries on in the tradition of the past as best it can, but the social system seems in large part to have died away with the numbers But most of the musth males in North Luangwa have long ago been shot by poachers Survivor has not seen one in several years perhaps all of them are dead Without a musth male to protect and mate her, the female has no choice but to succumb to these inexperienced bullies During the next four days she is mated by five different males She spends most of her time trying to escape them and rarely has a chance to feed It is not certain that she will conceive under these conditions, and even if she does, it will not necessarily be by the best and strongest male Naturally, the book is not without it s good news, accordingly, I have come to see if Africa is still here It is Hundreds of hippos the river lords laze, yawn, and sleep just beyond my beach Puku, warthogs, and impalas graze on the far shore On one walk I see zebras, kudu, waterbucks, buffalo, and eland One morning a large male lion walks into my camp, and the next day a leopard saunters along the same path I can hear baboons somewhere behind me, scampering and foraging their way through the forest And a Goliath heron glides by on slow, silver wings As the story and their work begins to succeed, we are heartened to learn all of these following things When we began our project in 1986, the elephants of North Luangwa National Park were being poached at the rate of one thousand each year By the end of 1991 that number had been reduced to twelve A Men From 1963 to 1989 poachers shot 86 percent of the elephants in Africa for their ivory, skin, tails, and feet In one decade the population plummeted from 1,300,000 to 600,000 less than half its former size Seventy thousand elephants were shot every year to meet the world s demand for ivory Ninety percent of the ivory entering the international market was from poached elephants In other words, there was a 90 percent chance that an ivory bracelet in any jewelry or department store in the world was from a poached elephant Illegal tusks were laundered by using false documents The elephant populations in twenty one African nations declined significantly in the decade preceding the CITES ban Zambia lostthan 80 percent of its elephants In the Luangwa Valley alone, 100,000 elephants were shot in the period between 1973 and 1985 In North Luangwa National Park from 1975 to 1986, elephants were shot at the rate of 1000 per year Tanzania lost 80 percent, Uganda 73 percent In East Africa as a whole, 80 to 86 percent of the elephants were shot by poachers In the fifteen years prior to the ban, Kenya lost 5000 elephants a year 1095 a year in Tsavo Park alone In spite of this unprecedented success, eight nations who stood to gain financially from the ivory trade filed reservations to the ban in 1989 China, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia which had changed its position and Great Britain on behalf of Hong Kong for six months Further, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the previous government of Zambia moved to down list the elephant from endangered status to threatened and to continue their ivory trade With the exception of South Africa, these nations formed their own ivory cartel, the Southern African Center for Ivory Marketing treaty SACIM These nations are involved in the illegal ivory trade South Africa, one of the most outspoken of the nations resisting the ban, is one of the largest clearinghouses for illicit ivory on the African continent Raw ivory entering and leaving South Africa for other countries in its customs union Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho does not require import or export permits In addition, worked ivory can be imported to or exported from South Africa without permits So the door is wide open for illegal ivory to be imported into the country, then exported anywhere in the world without documents In Angola, members of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola UNITA killed 100,000 elephants to finance their war with the government These tusks were exported to South Africa, where they entered the free market.7 A photographer from Time magazine witnessed a huge machine shop run by UNITA in Angola, where dozens of lathes were being used to carve tusks into replicas of machine guns personal communications Two men arrested in South Africa in possession of 975 poached elephant tusks were not prosecuted And because I ve been reading this very thing about Chobe lately, I found these two sections to be of interest, Claims that there are too many elephants in some areas are inaccurate or irrelevant Zimbabwe and Botswana declare that they have too many elephants and need to cull them to prevent habitat destruction Too often when elephants appear to occur in high numbers, it is actually because they have been crowded into small areas by outside poaching pressures, or by loss of habitat from human development If the poaching were eliminated or if elephants were allowed to inhabit a greater portion of their former ranges, they would no longer be overcrowded With human populations growingthan 3 percent annually, people will take overandelephant habitat for development and conflicts will occur But the CITES treaty does not prohibit the culling of elephants in areas where their densities are too high Culling should be considered a last resort, but when necessary it can be done according to the CITES regulations Culling does not cause poaching selling the ivory and other parts from culled elephants does Too often in the past, governments have repeatedly and prematurely resorted to culling operations to control elephant densities It would be farappropriate for the central, southern, and east African nations to form an international policing agency similar to Interpol to deal with the illicit traffic in animal parts and to coordinate antipoaching law enforcement operations Elephant poaching occurs in Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana and Nigel Hunter, the deputy director of Wildlife and National Parks there, has stated that he suspects that illegally taken ivory from Botswana moves through South Africa All in all, this is an excellent book to read if you want to know how close we came to losing one of the world s most undeniably magnificent beasts Certainly, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Owens for their efforts towards preventing that very thing I, for one, am very thankful Zikomo I liked this book as I was reading it although I knew it was dated having been published in 1992 It was educational, if heartbreaking, and really immersed me in North Lunagwa National Park in Zambia The book begins as the Owenses are expelled from Botswana and the Kalahari, their original project in Africa It is never really made clear to the reader or to Mark and Delia Owens why they were expelled but they assumed it was because they were exposing non environmental practices that were direct I liked this book as I was reading it although I knew it was dated having been published in 1992 It was educational, if heartbreaking, and really immersed me in North Lunagwa National Park in Zambia The book begins as the Owenses are expelled from Botswana and the Kalahari, their original project in Africa It is never really made clear to the reader or to Mark and Delia Owens why they were expelled but they assumed it was because they were exposing non environmental practices that were directly responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of wild animals After months and years of fighting to stay, they finally decided to move on and settled in Zambia in a national park where elephants and other wild animals were being poached and slaughtered by the thousands The remainder of the book is devoted to how Mark and Delia worked to rid the park of poachers and educate the surrounding villages in conservation and prove to them that they can makemoney and live better lives if the animals are allowed to live Safari tourism will payand createjobs than poaching and the eventual extinction of the animals It was a constant uphill battle given that the very people charged with stamping out poachers, the game wardens, the rangers, the law enforcement officials, and the politicians, were all closing their eyes to the problem and, worse, profiting from poaching and the ivory trade.Eventually Mark and Delia come to a parting of the ways with each other as Mark becomesandobsessed with terrorizing the poachers, a tactic that Delia finds she can no longer support By this time they had worn themselves out and their health was in serious jeopardy The book ends on a bit of a hopeful note when a new democratic regime is voted in and worldwide the ivory trade is shut down and policies begin to change in favor of conservation We leave Mark and Delia mending their relationship and realizing that the Marulu Puku is their home.Before I could review the book, in researching whether Mark and Delia are still married they are not , I read an article about the making of a documentary about their time in Zambia and the documentary apparently painted a much different picture than the book Even as I was reading the book I was asking myself if these two could really be THIS extraordinarily good and if Mark could really be as obsessed and yet as restrained as he was The documentary revealed a lot of not so good that was going on behind the book scenes Who knows where the truth actually lies but the article did color my opinion of the book, especially in that those supporters that are named in the book no longer support the Owenses efforts and many tell an entirely different story of their time there than the book reveals The Owenses no longer live in Zambia It is unclear whether they decided to leave or if they fled in the midst of death threats and looming legal charges They live separately on a huge ranch in Idaho where, in a complete departure from all she has previously known, Delia recently wrote and published the smash bestselling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing.Their hearts were in the right place and much good seems to have come from their research and their educational programs but it seems like maybe their focus and eventual obsession may have sent them off the rails, as often happens It is hard to find fault with them given the lack of support they had, worldwide, in such an admirable pursuit as the conservation of wildlife in Africa They were environmentalists ahead of their time, futilely battling windmills in their effort to bring awareness to a world who just couldn t or didn t want to hear them After being expelled from Botswana for writing their controversial bestseller Cry of the Kalahari, Mark and Delia Owens set off on a journey across Africa, searching for a new Eden They found it in Zambia, but elephant poachers soon had them fighting for their lives when they tried to stop the slaughterpages of photos, half in color ❴Reading❵ ➻ Muerte en Hamburgo (Jan Fabel, Author Craig Russell – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Mark and Delia Owens set off on a journey across Africa ❴Download❵ ➾ Jazz Age Stories Author F. Scott Fitzgerald – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk searching for a new Eden They found it in Zambia [Read] ➳ Much Obliged, Jeeves By P.G. Wodehouse – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk but elephant poachers soon had them fighting for their lives when they tried to stop the slaughterpages of photos ❮PDF❯ ✪ The Wrong Blood ✑ Author Manuel de Lope – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk half in color


About the Author: Delia Owens

Delia Owens is the co author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.You can also connect with Delia on Facebook at


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