Sands of Silence

Peter Hathaway Capstick, Author
Peter Hathaway Capstick, Author St. Martin's Press $35 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-06459-4
Reviewed on: 10/14/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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Although he had ``culled'' many elephants as a game officer in Zaire and elsewhere, safari leader Capstick ( Death in the Long Grass ) had never killed a tusker. Here he records his part in a legal hunt with a company licensed by the Namibian government to take 10 elephants annually in the northeastern region of the country, part of the northern Kalhari Desert, where some 1000 old bull elephants range, about a dozen dying of old age each year. The sparsely populated area is home to the Bushmen, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes, whose way of life the author intended to film. Another aspect of the safari was Capstick's signed agreement to hunt ``problem animals'' to reduce predation by lions and leopards, and he was accompanied by a native guard to ensure that the meat went to natives. In his lively account of adventures amid stifling heat and dust, Capstick tells of encounters with poisonous snakes, of learning about poison arrows from Bushmen and of getting his elephant. He argues that Namibia's legal hunting is a desirable practice, benefiting local people and the national economy. Photos. (Nov.)
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