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

Mark Owens, Author, Delia Owens, With Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-395-42381-3
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. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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