Shopping for books for a wildlife lover, tree-hugger, naturalist, or conservationist in your gift-giving circle? Here are a few titles to titilate their reading sensibilities:
Love, Life and Elephants, by Dame Daphne Sheldrick (2013). Sheldrick helped to pioneer husbandry methods for raising orphaned elephants so young that they were still dependent upon their mother’s milk. But she also cared for numerous other kinds of injured and orphaned wildlife in her time at Tsavo National Park. Although this book is heavy in the early parts with Sheldrick’s family history of settling in Kenya as British homesteaders in the first half of the 20th century, the story is laced throughout with observations of wildlife and interactions with individual animal oprhans, including: wild giraffes, hyenas, rhinoceros, raptors of all kinds, elusive kudu, gazelles, lions, leopards, oryx, ostriches and — of course — elephants.
Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures, by Virginia Morrel (2013). This books takes readers on an unforgettable jaunt through major recent changes in how scientists understand the intelligence of animals ranging from ants to fish, birds, dolphins and dogs. Morrel is an accomplished science writer and deftly unpacks research findings for her readers while touring research labs and meeting with scientists across the world.
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant (2010). Can a tiger hold a vendetta against a person? This is a central question in Vaillant’s book, and he’s written a haunting tale you won’t soon forget. It’s based on true events that transpired in Russia’s Far East in the late 1990s. The truth of the events portrayed in this book will stalk your conscience until you are forced to confront several revelations: that tigers may possess an intelligence which allows for pre-meditated action, that tigers may have emotions and act upon them, that tigers may have the emotive and cognitive capacities to possess grudges and enact vendettas, and that most humans who don’t live with wild tigers tend to downplay and discredit these possibilities. Continue reading