Secrets Of The Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries…

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Secrets Of The Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries…

by Mark James Owens, Cordelia Dykes Owens

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | July 17, 2007 | Trade Paperback

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In this riveting real-life adventure, Mark and Delia Owens tell the dramatic story of their last years in Africa, fighting to save elephants, villagers, and - in the end - themselves. The award-winning zoologists and pioneering conservationists describe their work in the remote and ruggedly beautiful Luangwa Valley, in northeastern Zambia. There they studied the mysteries of the elephant population's recovery after poaching, discovering remarkable similarities between humans and elephants. A young elephant named Gift provided the clue to help them crack the animals' secret of survival. A stirring portrait of life in Africa, Secrets of the Savanna is a remarkable record of the Owenses' unique passions.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.64 in

Published: July 17, 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618872507

ISBN - 13: 9780618872503

Found in: Science and Nature

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Secrets Of The Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries ofElephants and People

Secrets Of The Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries…

by Mark James Owens, Cordelia Dykes Owens

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.64 in

Published: July 17, 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0618872507

ISBN - 13: 9780618872503

About the Book

In this thrilling real-life adventure, Mark and Delia Owens tell the dramatic
story of their last years in Africa, fighting to save elephants, villagers,
and--in the end--themselves. The award-winning zoologists and
pioneering conservationists describe their work in the "remote and
ruggedly beautiful" Luangwa Valley in northeastern Zambia, where the
elephant population had been severely depleted. As they studied the mysteries of the elephants' recovery, they found remarkable behavioral similarities between elephants and humans. They also encountered a scientific mystery: how could there be so many baby elephants and so few females old enough to be mothers? Ultimately, a young elephant named Gift provided a clue to help them crack the elephants' secret of survival. A stirring,
hopeful, and poignant portrait of life in Africa, Secrets of the Savanna is a
vivid record of the Owenses' unique passions.

Read from the Book

1 Delia GiftA gift into the world for whoever will accept it.—Richard Bach . . . there are conflicts of interest between male and female in courtship and mating.—J . R. Krebs and N. B. DaviesBetween the trees of the forest, amid the thorny undergrowth, under tangles of twisted twigs is a space that is more color than place. It is a grayness painted by drooping limbs and distant branches that blur together and fade into nothingness. It is not a shadow but a pause in the landscape, rarely noticed because our eyes touch the trees, not the emptiness on either side of them. And elephants are the color of this space. As large as they are, elephants can disappear into these secret surroundings, dissolve into the background. When poachers slaughtered the elephants of North Luangwa, the few remaining survivors slipped into the understory. They were seldom seen and almost never heard because they rarely lifted their trunks to trumpet. When we first came to the Luangwa Valley we could barely grab a glimpse through our binoculars of the elephants’ broad, gray bottoms and thin tails before they tore into the thick brush and disappeared. As poaching decreased, a hushed peace settled over the valley, like the silence of fog folded among hills at the end of a rain. In 1991 fewer than ten elephants were shot in North Luangwa, down from a thousand killed illegally every year for a decade. It was an unexpected yet natural quiet, as if a waterfall had frozen in midsong in an
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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

FOREWORD BY ALEXANDRA FULLER VII PROLOGUE XI AUTHORS’ NOTE XXIII

MAPS NORTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK XXIV MPIKA DISTRICT XXV

1. GIFT 1 2. POACHER CUM MILLER 9 3. UPSIDE-DOWN ELEPHANTS 18 4. THE SONG OF THE WINTERTHORN 33 5. GRANDPA 45 6. ANY TIME FROM NOW 54 7. GULLYWHUMPER 65 8. NO SCHOOL FOR GIFT 78 9. THE WOMEN OF KATIBUNGA 81 10. MY TROOP 90 11. MOUNTAIN ELEPHANTS 97 12. THE COMMERCE OF UNDERSTANDING 103 13. THE KAKULE CLUB 112 14. TOO MUCH SUGAR 122 15. CHIPUNDU PRIDE 124 16. A PRESENT FROM GIFT 131 17. A DANGEROUS DINNER 138 18. WILDLIFE DRAMA 145 19. WHEN I CLOSE MY EYES I SEE ELEPHANTS 154 20. A DANCE WITH SURVIVOR 158 21. GRASS HUTS AND LEOPARD STUMPS 164 22. CAMP ARREST 173 23. ADRIFT 180 24. THE STONES OF MY STREAM 184

EPILOGUE 191

APPENDIX: THE NORTH LUANGWA CONSERVATION PROJECT 197 SUGGESTED READING 213 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 215 INDEX 221

From the Publisher

In this riveting real-life adventure, Mark and Delia Owens tell the dramatic story of their last years in Africa, fighting to save elephants, villagers, and - in the end - themselves. The award-winning zoologists and pioneering conservationists describe their work in the remote and ruggedly beautiful Luangwa Valley, in northeastern Zambia. There they studied the mysteries of the elephant population's recovery after poaching, discovering remarkable similarities between humans and elephants. A young elephant named Gift provided the clue to help them crack the animals' secret of survival. A stirring portrait of life in Africa, Secrets of the Savanna is a remarkable record of the Owenses' unique passions.

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