Looking for more great wildlife books to read besides mine?



Books by me, Lori Robinson

Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love
by Lori Robinson
Today we are faced with the alarming possibility that as many as 50 percent of species alive will become extinct within this century. This statistic is so staggering that scientists have begun to refer to the twenty-first century as the “sixth extinction.” But while this is alarming, all hope is not lost; conservation experts across the globe are working tirelessly to preserve our planet for future generations.In Wild Lives, twenty of these pioneers share their stories via exclusive interviews. Coming from different countries, diverse cultures, and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and specializing in different species, all of these conservationists have an important characteristic in common: they have committed their lives to saving our planet and the majestic species that call it home. These esteemed contributors include:•Beverly and Dereck Joubert, National Geographic filmmakers and big cat experts•Ric O’Barry, dolphin advocate and trainer of Flipper•George Schaller, famed field biologist and author•Yossi Leshem, Israeli ornithologist•Dominique Bikaba, gorilla activist•Paul Hilton, award-winning wildlife photographerPassionate and inspiring, Wild Lives is an important and timely reminder of the beauty and fragility of our world and the obligation that every person has towards preserving it.
Saving Wild: Inspiration From 50 Leading Conservationists
by Lori Robinson
According to scientists, we are entering the sixth great mass extinction event. Full of inspiration and hope, this book is an antidote for anyone who suffers from ecological despair over the current state of our planets wildlife and wild places. Lori Robinson sought out fifty of the world’s leading conservationists, men and women who have devoted their lives to saving some of the most endangered species and the most threatened areas on earth. To each she posed the question: How do you stay inspired? This book is the result. Among the people Robinson interviewed are wildlife filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert, elephant experts Daphne Sheldrick, Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole, and ocean warrior Paul Watson. She spoke with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, and with Laura Turner, daughter of one of America’s most prominent conservationists. In the foreword Jane Goodall explains that she finds hope in the indomitable human spirit “embodied in the people who tackle seemingly impossible problems, and refuse to give up, and who so often succeed — like the inspirational people in this book.”

 

On these shelves, you’ll find wildlife books I’ve read and loved, and books to take on safari.    

Thanks for using any of the links to buy the books. A small percentage goes to our favorite NGOs without costing you anything extra. It’s a win win. 



Top Wildlife Books

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
by Carl Safina
I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you? Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest. Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.
What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
by Jon Young
“Jon Young knows birds, and you will too after reading his marvelous book. You’ll discover a universal bird language that will speak to you wherever you go outdoors. Every nature lover should read this book.”—Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature with Children and John Muir: My Life with NatureA lifelong birder, tracker, and naturalist, Jon Young is guided by three basic premises: the robin, junco, and other songbirds know everything important about their environment, be it backyard or forest; by tuning in to their vocalizations and behavior, we can acquire much of this wisdom for our own pleasure and benefit; and the birds’ companion calls and warning alarms are just as important as their songs. Deep bird language is an ancient discipline, perfected by Native peoples the world over, and science is finally catching up. This groundbreaking book unites the indigenous knowledge, the latest research, and the author’s own experience of four decades in the field to lead us toward a deeper connection to the animals and, in the end, a deeper connection to ourselves. “Jon Young is one of the heroes of the new nature movement . . . This elegant book will deepen the kinship between humans and other species. It decodes our common language.”—Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods“A brilliant work, born of a lifetime of listening, teaching, and tracking what really matters . . . Jon Young’s work replenishes our humanity.”—David Abram, author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous
Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence
by Marc Bekoff
In wildlife conservation, rewilding refers to restoring habitats and creating corridors between preserved lands to allow declining populations to rebound. Marc Bekoff, one of the world’s leading animal experts and activists, here applies rewilding to human attitudes. Rewilding Our Hearts invites readers to do the essential work of becoming reenchanted with the world, acting from the inside out, and dissolving false boundaries to truly connect with both nature and themselves.
Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees
by Barbara Bennett
For animal lovers, nature enthusiasts, and the vast readership for gripping true-life stories, this African saga is a must-read adventure. It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife. We meet Sam, the "AIDS" lion infected by mistake at a vet clinic. Boerjke, a baboon with epilepsy and Down syndrome. Savanna, the one-eyed lioness. And Marieta van der Merwe herself, the inspiring proprietor of Harnas who shares her home with needy wild animals. Survivor of an early life fraught with personal tragedy in the African Bush, she now devotes herself as care-giver and ambassador for wildlife and wildland. Told with insight, humor, and thrilling immediacy by author and Harnas volunteer Barbara Bennett, this story will captivate readers of all ages.
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
by Daphne Sheldrick
Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya's rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death. In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous zebra; and the majestic elephant Eleanor, with whom Daphne has shared more than forty years of great friendship. But this is also a magical and heartbreaking human love story between Daphne and David Sheldrick, the famous Tsavo Park warden. It was their deep and passionate love, David's extraordinary insight into all aspects of nature, and the tragedy of his early death that inspired Daphne's vast array of achievements, most notably the founding of the world-renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Orphans' Nursery in Nairobi National Park, where Daphne continues to live and work to this day. Encompassing not only David and Daphne's tireless campaign for an end to poaching and for conserving Kenya's wildlife, but also their ability to engage with the human side of animals and their rearing of the orphans expressly so they can return to the wild, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing a rare insight into the life of one of the world's most remarkable women.
White Man's Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden, and Other Myths of Conservation in Africa
by Stephanie Hanes
A probing examination of Western conservation efforts in Africa, where our feel-good stories belie a troubling realityThe stunningly beautiful Gorongosa National Park, once the crown jewel of Mozambique, was nearly destroyed by decades of civil war. It looked like a perfect place for Western philanthropy: revive the park and tourists would return, a win-win outcome for the environment and the impoverished villagers living in the area. So why did some researchers find the local communities actually getting hungrier, sicker, and poorer as the project went on? And why did efforts to bring back wildlife become far more difficult than expected? In pursuit of answers, Stephanie Hanes takes readers on a vivid safari across southern Africa, from the shark-filled waters off Cape Agulhas to a reserve trying to save endangered wild dogs. She traces the tangled history of Western missionaries, explorers, and do-gooders in Africa, from Stanley and Livingstone to Teddy Roosevelt, from Bono and the Live Aid festivals to Greg Carr, the American benefactor of Gorongosa. And she examines the larger problems that arise when Westerners try to “fix” complex, messy situations in the developing world, acting with best intentions yet potentially overlooking the wishes of the people who live there. Beneath the uplifting stories we tell ourselves about helping Africans, she shows, often lies a dramatic misunderstanding of what the locals actually need and want.A gripping narrative of environmentalists and insurgents, poachers and tycoons, elephants and angry spirits, White Man’s Game profoundly challenges the way we think about philanthropy and conservation.
The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild
by Craig Childs
A probing examination of Western conservation efforts in Africa, where our feel-good stories belie a troubling realityThe stunningly beautiful Gorongosa National Park, once the crown jewel of Mozambique, was nearly destroyed by decades of civil war. It looked like a perfect place for Western philanthropy: revive the park and tourists would return, a win-win outcome for the environment and the impoverished villagers living in the area. So why did some researchers find the local communities actually getting hungrier, sicker, and poorer as the project went on? And why did efforts to bring back wildlife become far more difficult than expected? In pursuit of answers, Stephanie Hanes takes readers on a vivid safari across southern Africa, from the shark-filled waters off Cape Agulhas to a reserve trying to save endangered wild dogs. She traces the tangled history of Western missionaries, explorers, and do-gooders in Africa, from Stanley and Livingstone to Teddy Roosevelt, from Bono and the Live Aid festivals to Greg Carr, the American benefactor of Gorongosa. And she examines the larger problems that arise when Westerners try to “fix” complex, messy situations in the developing world, acting with best intentions yet potentially overlooking the wishes of the people who live there. Beneath the uplifting stories we tell ourselves about helping Africans, she shows, often lies a dramatic misunderstanding of what the locals actually need and want.A gripping narrative of environmentalists and insurgents, poachers and tycoons, elephants and angry spirits, White Man’s Game profoundly challenges the way we think about philanthropy and conservation.
Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide
by Peter Allison
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: “only food runs!”In the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. Peter Allison gives us the guide’s-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world’s fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists. Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta. As he serves the whims of his wealthy clients, he often has to stop the impulse to run as far away from them as he can, as these tourists are sometimes more dangerous than a pride of lions. No one could make up these outrageous-but-true tales: the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more “fashionable” hot pink ensemble; the lost tourist who happened to be drunk, half-naked, and a member of the British royal family; establishing a real friendship with the continent’s most vicious animal; the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison’s being charged by a lion so he could videotape it; and spending a crazy night in the wild after blowing a tire on a tour bus, revealing that Allison has as much good-natured scorn for himself. The author’s humor is exceeded only by his love and respect for the animals, and his goal is to limit any negative exposure to humans by planning trips that are minimally invasive—unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way! Peter Allison is originally from Sydney, Australia. His safaris have been featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, and on television programs such as Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. He travels frequently to speaking appearances, and splits most of his time between Botswana, Sydney, and San Francisco.
The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
by Lawrence Anthony
Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to animal conservation, protecting the world's endangered species. Then he was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand. His common sense told him to refuse, but he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them.In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom. The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad memoir of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, Anthony's unrelenting efforts at animal protection and his remarkable connection with nature will inspire animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.
Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
by Robyn Davidson
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURERobyn Davidson's opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back." Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.  “An unforgettably powerful book.”—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild Now with a new postscript by Robyn Davidson.
Bulu: African Wonder Dog
by Dick Houston
Fans of narrative non-fiction, true dog stories, and African wildlife will want to check out Bulu!Born on a crocodile farm in Zambia's untamed South Luangwa Valley, the puppy seemed different from his littermates. Too quiet. Unresponsive. Terriers are usually full of energy and bouncing off walls. But not this one. Nobody wanted him. Enter Anna and Steve Tolan—former police officers who had left behind their life in England to live in the African bush. People thought the Tolans were a bit different, too. The peculiar puppy suited them perfectly. They named him Bulu, or "wild dog" in the local Nyanja language.Living in the bush, Bulu not only found his voice, he also found his calling as a foster parent to the orphaned baby animals—including warthogs, monkeys, elephants, baboons, bushbucks, and buffalo—cared for by the Tolans. But Bulu's protective nature led him into terrifying situations in the wild. It's a miracle he survived! But survive he did, disarming people with his wacky ways and nurturing once-unwanted creatures like him until they too could be set free. Bulu's story is a joyful confirmation of dogs as unique spirits, capable of love, compassion, and bravery.Packed with vivid descriptions of encounters with crocodiles, lions, leopards, poisonous snakes, armed poachers, and more—and illustrated throughout with black-and-white photographs—Bulu: African Wonder Dog is a great resource for meeting Common Core State Standards that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.From the Hardcover edition.
Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet
by Todd Wilkinson
Entrepreneur and media mogul Ted Turner has commanded global attention for his dramatic personality, his founding of CNN, his marriage to Jane Fonda, and his company’s merger with Time Warner. But his green resume has gone largely ignored, even while his role as a pioneering eco-capitalist means more to Turner than any other aspect of his legacy. He currently owns more than two million acres of private land (more than any other individual in America), and his bison herd exceeds 50,000 head, the largest in history. He donated $1 billion to help save the UN, and has recorded dozens of other firsts with regard to wildlife conservation, fighting nukes, and assisting the poor. He calls global warming the most dire threat facing humanity, and says that the tycoons of the future will be minted in the development of green, alternative renewable energy.      Last Stand goes behind the scenes into Turner’s private life, exploring the man’s accomplishments and his motivations, showing the world a fascinating and flawed, fully three-dimensional character. From barnstorming the country with T. Boone Pickens on behalf of green energy to a pivotal night when he considered suicide, Turner is not the man the public believes him to be. Through Turner’s eyes, the reader is asked to consider another way of thinking about the environment, our obligations to help others in need, and the grave challenges threatening the survival of civilization.
The Elephant's Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa
by Caitlin O'Connell
While observing a family of elephants in the wild, Caitlin O’Connell noticed a peculiar listening behavior—the matriarch lifted her foot and scanned the horizon, causing the other elephants to follow suit, as if they could “hear” the ground. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is O’Connell’s account of her groundbreaking research into seismic listening and communication, chronicling the extraordinary social lives of elephants over the course of fourteen years in the Namibian wilderness.            This compelling odyssey of scientific discovery is also a frank account of fieldwork in a poverty-stricken, war-ravaged country. In her attempts to study an elephant community, O’Connell encounters corrupt government bureaucrats, deadly lions and rhinos, poachers, farmers fighting for arable land, and profoundly ineffective approaches to wildlife conservation. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is ultimately a story of intellectual courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. “I was transported by the author’s superbly sensuous descriptions of her years spent studying the animals. . . . Conjures a high-class nature documentary film in prose.”—Steven Poole, Guardian “A ride as rough and astonishing as the roads of the African floodplain.”—Joan Keener, Entertainment Weekly “A successful combination of science and soulfulness, explaining her groundbreaking theory of how elephants use seismic communication. . . . O’Connell’s account is studded with sympathetic insights and well-turned phrases.”—Publishers Weekly “This fascinating book reads like a fast-paced detective story of a scientific discovery and adventure set in contemporary Africa. . . . By the end, O’Connell takes her rightful place among the leading biographers of the African elephant.”—Iain Douglas-Hamilton, author of Among the Elephants  
Behind the Dolphin smile: One Man's Campaign to Protect the World's Dolphins
by Richard O'Barry
Behind the Dolphin Smile is the heart-felt true story of an animal lover who dedicated his life to studying and training dolphins, but in the process discovered that he ultimately needed to set them free. Ric O’Barry shares his journey with dolphins and other sea mammals in this captivating autobiographical look back at his years as a dolphin trainer for aquatic theme parks, movies, and television. Also included is a preface relaying a first-hand account of his adventures filming the 2010 Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove, which covertly uncovered Japan’s inhumane dolphin-hunting practices. O’Barry, a successful animal trainer who had had everything—money, flashy cars, pretty women—came to realize that dolphins were easy to train, not because of his great talent, but because they possessed great intelligence, and that keeping them in captivity was cruel and morally wrong. O’Barry now dedicates his life to stopping the exploitation of these exceptional mammals by retraining them to return to their natural habitats.
Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo
by Vanessa Woods
A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love. In 2005 Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA and who live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake. A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.
The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator's Deadly Return to Suburban America
by David Baron
"Reads like a crime novel . . . each chapter ends on a cliff-hanging note."―Seattle Times When residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their backyards, it became clear that the cats had returned after decades of bounty hunting had driven them far from human settlement. In a riveting environmental tale that has received huge national attention, journalist David Baron traces the history of the mountain lion and chronicles one town's tragic effort to coexist with its new neighbors. As thought-provoking as it is harrowing, The Beast in the Garden is a tale of nature corrupted, the clash between civilization and wildness, and the artificiality of the modern American landscape. It is, ultimately, a book about the future of our nation, where suburban sprawl and wildlife-protection laws are pushing people and wild animals into uncomfortable, sometimes deadly proximity.
The Wilderness Family
by Kobie Kruger
When Kobie Kruger, her game-ranger husband and their three young daughters moved to one of the most isolated corners of the world - a remote ranger station in the Mahlangeni region of South Africa's vast Kruger National Park - she might have worried that she would become engulfed with loneliness and boredom. Yet, for Kobie and her family, the seventeen years spent in this spectacularly beautiful park proved to be the most magical - and occasionally the most hair-raising - of their lives. Kobie recounts their enchanting adventures and extraordinary experiences in this vast reserve - a place where, bathed in golden sunlight, hippos basked in the glittering waters of the Letaba River, storks and herons perched along the shoreline, and fruit bats hung in the sausage trees. But as the Krugers settled in, they discovered that not all was peace and harmony. They soon became accustomed to living with the unexpected: the sneaky hyenas who stole blankets and cooking pots, the sinister-looking pythons that slithered into the house, and the usually placid elephants who grew foul-tempered in the violent heat of the summer. And one terrible day, a lion attacked Kobus in the bush and nearly killed him. Yet nothing prepared the Krugers for their greatest adventure of all, the raising of an orphaned prince, a lion cub who, when they found him, was only a few days old and on the verge of death. Reared on a cocktail of love and bottles of fat-enriched milk, Leo soon became an affectionate, rambunctious and adored member of the fmaily. It is the rearing of this young king, and the hilarious endeavours to teach him to become a 'real' lion who could survive with his own kind in the wild, that lie at the heart of this endearing memoir. It is a memoir of a magical place and time that can never be recaptured.
Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder
by Kenn Kaufman
Now revered as one of North America's top birders, Kenn Kaufman hit the road at age sixteen and spent a year crisscrossing the country to see as many birds as he could, in a birding competition known as a "big year." In what has become a classic among birders, this memoir chronicles the subculture of birding in the 1970s and a teenager's search for his place in the world. In a new afterword, Kaufman looks at the evolution of bird-listing since his own big year.
Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival
by Jeffrey Gettleman
From Jeffrey Gettleman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, comes a passionate, revealing story about finding love and finding a calling, set against one of the most turbulent regions in the world.A seasoned war correspondent, Jeffrey Gettleman has covered every major conflict over the past twenty years, from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Congo. For the past decade, he has served as the East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times, fulfilling a teenage dream.At nineteen, Gettleman fell in love, twice. On a do-it-yourself community service trip in college, he went to East Africa—a terrifying, exciting, dreamlike part of the world in the throes of change that imprinted itself on his imagination and on his heart.But around that same time he also fell in love with a fellow Cornell student—the brightest, classiest, most principled woman he’d ever met. To say they were opposites was an understatement. She became a criminal lawyer in America; he hungered to return to Africa. For the next decade he would be torn between these two abiding passions.A sensually rendered coming-of-age story in the tradition of Barbarian Days, Love, Africa is a tale of passion, violence, far-flung adventure, tortuous long-distance relationships, screwing up, forgiveness, parenthood, and happiness that explores the power of finding yourself in the most unexpected of places.
The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy
by Michael McCarthy
Now available in paperback, The Moth Snowstorm is a one-of-a-kind environmental work that combines memoir, anecodotes, and hard facts to make a case for preserving an ever-dwindling natural world.The moth snowstorm, a phenomenon Michael McCarthy remembers from his boyhood when moths "would pack a car's headlight beams like snowflakes in a blizzard," is a distant memory. Wildlife is being lost, not only in the wholesale extinctions of species but also in the dwindling of those species that still exist.The Moth Snowstorm is unlike any other book about climate change today; combining the personal with the polemical, it is a manifesto rooted in experience, a poignant memoir of the author's first love: nature. McCarthy traces his adoration of the natural world to when he was seven, when the discovery of butterflies and birds brought sudden joy to a boy whose mother had just been hospitalized and whose family life was deteriorating. He goes on to record in painful detail the rapid dissolution of nature's abundance in the intervening decades, and he proposes a radical solution to our current problem: that we each recognize in ourselves the capacity to love the natural world.Arguing that neither sustainable development nor ecosystem services have provided adequate defense against pollution, habitat destruction, species degradation, and climate change, McCarthy asks us to consider nature as an intrinsic good and an emotional and spiritual resource, capable of inspiring joy, wonder, and even love. An award-winning environmental journalist, McCarthy presents a clear, well-documented picture of what he calls "the great thinning" around the world, while interweaving the story of his own early discovery of the wilderness and a childhood saved by nature. Drawing on the truths of poets, the studies of scientists, and the author's long experience in the field, The Moth Snowstorm is part elegy, part ode, and part argument, resulting in a passionate call to action.
The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds
by Julie Zickefoose
Julie Zickefoose lives for the moment when a wild, free living bird that she has raised or rehabilitated comes back to visit her; their eyes meet and they share a spark of understanding. Her reward for the grueling work of rescuing birds—such as feeding baby hummingbirds every twenty minutes all day long—is her empathy with them and the satisfaction of knowing the world is a birdier and more beautiful place. The Bluebird Effect is about the change that's set in motion by one single act, such as saving an injured bluebird—or a hummingbird, swift, or phoebe. Each of the twenty five chapters covers a different species, and many depict an individual bird, each with its own personality, habits, and quirks. And each chapter is illustrated with Zickefoose's stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds.
Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home
by Boyd Varty
Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than eighty years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty’s father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. But it wasn’t just a sanctuary for the animals; it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. When Nelson Mandela was released after twenty-seven years of imprisonment, he came to the reserve to recover.   Cathedral of the Wild is Varty’s memoir of his life in this exquisite and vast refuge. At Londolozi, Varty gained the confidence that emerges from living in Africa. “We came out strong and largely unafraid of life,” he writes, “with the full knowledge of its dangers.” It was there that young Boyd and his equally adventurous sister learned to track animals, raised leopard and lion cubs, followed their larger-than-life uncle on his many adventures filming wildlife, and became one with the land. Varty survived a harrowing black mamba encounter, a debilitating bout with malaria, even a vicious crocodile attack, but his biggest challenge was a personal crisis of purpose. An intense spiritual quest takes him across the globe and back again—to reconnect with nature and “rediscover the track.”   Cathedral of the Wild is a story of transformation that inspires a great appreciation for the beauty and order of the natural world. With conviction, hope, and humor, Varty makes a passionate claim for the power of the wild to restore the human spirit.   Praise for Cathedral of the Wild  “Extremely touching . . . a book about growth and hope.”—The New York Times   “It made me cry with its hard-won truths about human and animal nature. . . . Both funny and deeply moving, this book belongs on the shelf of everyone who seeks healing in wilderness.”—BookPage“This is a gorgeous, lyrical, hilarious, important book. Boyd Varty is as brilliant a storyteller and as kind a companion as you’ll ever meet. He describes a life that has been spent forging a new way of thinking and being, in harmony with both Nature writ large and the human nature that is you. Read this and you may find yourself instinctively beginning to heal old wounds: in yourself, in others, and just maybe in the cathedral of the wild that is our true home.”—Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Own North Star   “Cathedral of the Wild is the captivating story of the joyful, occasionally terrifying, but always interesting life of Boyd Varty. It is also a tale of healing, and of one family’s passion to restore our broken connection to nature. Be prepared to fall in love with Varty, his sister, his parents, his uncle, the ideals they fiercely hold to protect the African bush, and the wild animals and people that surround them. With his campfire wit and poet’s ear, Varty is a wonderful new voice in adventure writing.”—Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean“From the first chapter of Cathedral of the Wild, Boyd Varty’s South Africa grabs your heart, rather like the giant mamba he encountered as a boy. The deadly snake moved on, but Varty’s stories stick.”—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle


Safari Reference Books

Birds of the Serengeti: And Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Princeton University Press (WILDGuides))
by Adam Scott Kennedy
Located in northern Tanzania, the Serengeti is one of the world's most famous wildlife regions. Birds of the Serengeti is a groundbreaking and essential photographic guide, featuring more than 270 bird species most likely to be encountered in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This easy-to-use guide includes 480 dazzling color photos, an attractive and handy layout, and informative and accessible text that discusses interesting behaviors and provides insights into species background. Rich in detail, this indispensable volume uses a habitat-based approach, making it simple for everyone―from the novice to the experienced birdwatcher―to locate diverse birds in this fascinating area of the world.Looks at more than 270 bird species most likely to be encountered in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Speke Gulf Features major plumage variations Habitat-based approachInformative and accessible text
The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals
by Richard D. Estes
Since its original publication in 1993, The Safari Companion has been the best field guide to observing and understanding the behavior of African mammals. An indispensable tool for naturalists traveling to Africa, this new edition has been revised to acknowledge the enthusiasm to those watching these magnificent animals at zoos and wildlife parks, and on film. The Safari Companion enables readers to recognize and interpret visible behavioral activities, such as courtship rituals, territorial marking, aggression, and care of young. Each account of over 80 species includes a behavioral table in which the unique actions of the hoofed mammals, carnivores, and primates are described for easy reference. In addition, useful maps show the major national boundaries, vegetation zones, and game parks relevant to the guide. The book includes an extensive glossary, as well as tips on wildlife photography, a list of organizations working to protect African wildlife, and advice on where and when to see the animals.
Animals of the Masai Mara (Princeton University Press (WILDGuides))
by Adam Scott Kennedy
One of the greatest attractions of a trip to Kenya is the chance to see animals such as lions, cheetah, leopards, zebra, and giraffe up close and in their natural habitats. Animals of the Masai Mara is a lavish photographic guide that explores the charismatic wildlife most likely to be encountered by a safari visitor to the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwest Kenya. More than 140 stunning photographs showcase 65 mammals and 17 reptile species, including 6 snakes. Designed to be informative and locally accurate, rather than purely identification-based, this easy-to-use book pays particular attention to wildlife behavior and is written from the firsthand experiences of the authors and the knowledge of local safari guides. Numerous "Top Tips" throughout show readers how and where to locate specific species. The only field guide to focus solely on the wildlife of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Animals of the Masai Mara will be indispensable to visitors to this famous park and all nature enthusiasts with an interest in this area of the world. The only photographic guide specific to the animals of the Masai Mara National Reserve More than 140 remarkable photographs covering 65 mammals and 17 reptile species, including 6 snakes Accessible text explores animal behavior and other interesting facts A brief and informative introduction to the habitats of the Masai Mara
Birds of the Masai Mara (Princeton University Press (WILDGuides))
by Adam Scott Kennedy
Birds of the Masai Mara is a remarkably beautiful photographic guide featuring the bird species likely to be encountered by visitors to the popular Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. With an eye-catching layout, easy-to-use format, and no-jargon approach, the book contains more than 300 stunning photographs covering over 200 species of birds and is accessible and informative, rather than purely identification-based. A handy, brief introduction provides visitors with background on the habitats of the national park, and the guide's habitat-based approach makes it simple to identify any bird species according to where it is found. Based on the firsthand experiences of the author, Birds of the Masai Mara is an ideal companion to all those visiting the national reserve and to bird aficionados interested in learning more about the region. The only photographic guide to focus solely on the bird species of the Masai Mara National Reserve More than 300 remarkable photographs covering over 200 species Accessible text explores bird species behavior and species etymology A brief and handy introduction examines the habitats of the Masai Mara Easy-to-use habitat-based layout makes exciting birdwatching easy
Stuarts' Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
by Chris Stuart
This is a fully revised edition of the Stuart's best-selling field guide to southern Africa's extraordinary wealth of mammal species – from tiny shrews to the iconic Big Five, and including those that live in the sea. Clear, detailed text, distribution maps and color photographs enable quick identification, and there's information on diet, habitat, habits, and silhouettes of tracks and skulls. This new edition brings all information up to date, along with revised distribution data and many new photographs. Its coverage is expanded to include Angola, Zambia, Malawi and northern Mozambique.

 

18 Replies to “Wildlife Books”

  1. Thanks Brittany. If you have any to add we would love to hear about them. I am sure the staff at Hills of Africa can come up with some. My list is going to keep growing so feel free to add. All the best, Lori

  2. I enjoyed West with the Night by Beryl Markham who was a pioneer aviator in Kenya in the 20’s and 30’s. It has been a while since I read it. I may have to pull it out again.

    I also really enjoyed A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons. Maybe it is because I am still a biologist at heart.

    Thanks for the list. I am sure I will have a few more books on my shelves

  3. Thanks so much Jerilyn. I also loved West with the Night and will add it to the master list. I have Primates Memoir on my to read list.
    Thanks so much. Nice to have you following the blog. Keep me posted as to your readings.

  4. Several of my favorites are already listed, (Rules of the Wild, Blood River) but I would add Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan and Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. And, Barbars Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. I’m starting Daphne’s book today.

  5. Thanks for the reading list!.
    Just went to Amazon to order “An African Love Story” and came across this reference to “Unbowed” (on Rob Dvorak’s list) in one of the reviews….. I had to order it as well!

    “In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women, that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with the Kenyan government and personal losses, and jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save Kenya’s forests and to restore democracy to her beloved country. Infused with her unique luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai’s remarkable story of courage, faith, and the power of persistence is destined to inspire generations to come”.

  6. I think you will love Daphne’s book. It will remind you of home. And Wangari was an amazing women. I have read her books. They are interesting and inspiring. I met her and she was extraordinary. I did a post on her after she died.

  7. Thanks Bonnie for the new suggestions and the reminder about the wonderful Poisonwood Bible. I am reading Fullers new book, Scribbling the Cat now. The verdict is still out if it will make my favorites list.

  8. I love your reading list, and thought you might add The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and also Lawrence Anthony’s last book The Last Rhinos. Douglas Rogers, The Last Resort and Alexandra Fuller’s Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness are also good reads especially for Zimbabweans!

  9. Some other good ones are of course “Through a Window” by Jane Goodall. I also enjoyed “Bulu: African Wonder Dog” by Dick Houston. “Love, Life and Elephants” by Daphne Sheldrick (mentioned already), “The Elephant’s Secret Sense” by Calin O’Connell, and a rather fun Animal/Africa read I thought was “Backseat Safari” by Robyn Keene-Young. Another must-read is “Soul of a Lion: One Woman’s Quest to Rescue Africa’s Wildlife Refugees” by Barbara Bennett. All three books by the late Lawrence Anthony are exceptional… so sad about his death. I’m so happy to have come across you Blog, Lori. You live a life similar to what I dream about, but am finding it hard to take the leap at age 45 to change everything and head to Africa. Now I’m hurrying off to Amazon to order some new books! Thanks everyone for suggestions! 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for the great suggestions : many of which I have not yet read. Because you named more than three your name and recommendations will go to the main list. Thanks again.

  11. Thanks, Lori, for your site and book page. For three months last year I worked as a safari doctor in the Luangwa valley in Zambia – a pristine wilderness where I saw leopards almost on a daily basis. I was responsible for attending to any guests of the safari operators who wanted to see a doctor. Mishap whilst on safari is unlikely but illness does not always postpone itself whilst you take your vacation! Fortunately most of my patients were treatable there in the wild so that they were able to carry on enjoying their safari. Whilst in the Luangwa valley I had plenty of opportunity to read as well as to enjoy the wildlife. When I travel to Africa my reading matter always includes fiction set in whatever country I’m visiting as it is the stories of the continent that often give us the most insight into what is happening in the heart of the beautiful landscapes. They also help us to understand and relate to the people we meet there. The Great African Reads section of Goodreads is a great place to discover discussion on African fiction. I hope that I’ve also contributed to the stories of Africa in my own novels: The Ghosts of Eden, set in East Africa, and my latest novel, Fortunate, set in Zimbabwe.

  12. If anyone is interested how an American born in Kansas is ‘made’ in Africa after residing in all corners of the continent for over 43 years, I think they will enjoy and be enlightened by my new book, “Africa’s Embrace,” which takes the reader on a rollicking adventure into the heart of Africa.

  13. Hi Lori,
    Maybe you would like to check out my friend Lorraine Chittock’s website, she is a traveler and animal lover, has been across the Libyan desert on camels, among other things. She’s written a few books on animals in far flung places, really great lady!
    http://lorrainechittock.com/biography.htm

    :o)
    ~ Sally

  14. Terrific post, Lori! I can’t wait to pick up “On Writing Wild.” You book list looks quite enticing. I feel so fortunate to have met you hiking today.

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