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Overview

Craig Packer takes us into Africa for a journey of fifty-two days in the fall of 1991. But this is more than a tour of magnificent animals in an exotic, faraway place. A field biologist since 1972, Packer began his work studying primates at Gombe and then the lions of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater with his wife and colleague Anne Pusey. Here, he introduces us to the real world of fieldwork—initiating assistants to lion research in the Serengeti, helping a doctoral student collect data, collaborating ...
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Into Africa

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Overview

Craig Packer takes us into Africa for a journey of fifty-two days in the fall of 1991. But this is more than a tour of magnificent animals in an exotic, faraway place. A field biologist since 1972, Packer began his work studying primates at Gombe and then the lions of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater with his wife and colleague Anne Pusey. Here, he introduces us to the real world of fieldwork—initiating assistants to lion research in the Serengeti, helping a doctoral student collect data, collaborating with Jane Goodall on primate research.

As in the works of George Schaller and Cynthia Moss, Packer transports us to life in the field. He is addicted to this land—to the beauty of a male lion striding across the Serengeti plains, to the calls of a baboon troop through the rain forests of Gombe—and to understanding the animals that inhabit it. Through his vivid narration, we feel the dust and the bumps of the Arusha Road, smell the rosemary in the air at lunchtime on a Serengeti verandah, and hear the lyrics of the Grateful Dead playing off bootlegged tapes.

Into Africa also explores the social lives of the animals and the threats to their survival. Packer grapples with questions he has passionately tried to answer for more than two decades. Why do female lions raise their young in crèches? Why do male baboons move from troop to troop while male chimps band together? How can humans and animals continue to coexist in a world of diminishing resources? Immediate demands—logistical nightmares, political upheavals, physical exhaustion—yield to the larger inescapable issues of the interdependence of the land, the animals, and the people who inhabit it.

National Geographic contributor Craig Packer celebrates the wildlife of Africa, describing in absorbing detail how wildlife research is actually conducted. Beyond the sights, smells, and beauty of Africa, Packer also explores the social lives of the animals, the threats to their survival, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Jon Kartman
Here's a book to make the budding wildlife researcher either abandon or reaffirm the calling. Packer describes less than two months of research into the lives and habits of the lion and reveals not only how boring the king of beasts is (lions sleep more than 18 hours a day) but also how less-than-thrilling research can be: for instance, Packer's project involved collecting and analyzing fecal samples. Before tuning out, though, be assured that this "is" a terrific book. Packer readily admits that Africa has cast its spell on him, and the spell has worked its way into his writing. The rhythms of the continent seem all the while to leap off the pages as Packer describes how the research group had to deal with broken sample bottles (broken while stored in luggage, alas), corrupt local officials, nonworking cars, and various strange and exotic diseases, and also an incident that took place some years before--the kidnapping of researchers by hostile guerrillas. Atop all that, toss in squabbles among the research group, thievery by local citizens hired by the group, and difficulties in obtaining needed materials, and you'll get a good idea of how wildlife researchers really operate out in the field. Commendable on many different levels, this is, above all, an immensely entertaining book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226055992
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/23/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 1,308,476
  • File size: 5 MB

Table of Contents

Part I - Lion Eyes

Minneapolis
Saturday, 26 October

London
Sunday, 27 October
 
Nairobi
Monday, 28 October
Tuesday, 29 October
Wednesday, 30 October
 
Arusha
Thursday, 31 October
Friday, 1 November

Ngorongoro
Saturday, 2 November
 
Serengeti
Sunday, 3 November
Monday, 4 November
Tuesday, 5 November
Wednesday, 6 November
Thursday, 7 November
Friday, 8 November
Saturday, 9 November
Sunday, 10 November
Monday, 11 November

Arusha
Tuesday, 12 November

Part II - Dark Star

Dar es Salaam
Wednesday, 13 November
Thursday, 14 November
Friday, 15 November

Gombe
Saturday, 16 November
Sunday, 17 November
Monday, 18 November
Tuesday, 19 November
Wednesday, 20 November
Thursday, 21 November
Friday, 22 November
Saturday, 23 November
Sunday, 24 November
Monday, 25 November
 
Kigoma
Tuesday, 26 November

Dar es Salaam 
Wednesday, 27 November
 
Mto-wa-Mbu
Thursday, 28 November

Part III - Red Rover

Ngorongoro
Friday, 29 November
Saturday, 30 November
Sunday, 1 December
Monday, 2 December
Tuesday, 3 December
Wednesday, 4 December

Serengeti
Thursday, 5 December
Friday, 6 December
Saturday, 7 December
Sunday, 8 December
Monday, 9 December
Tuesday, 10 December
Wednesday, 11 December
Thursday, 12 December
Friday, 13 December

Nairobi
Saturday, 14 December
Sunday, 15 December

London
Monday, 16 December

Postscript
Minneapolis, March 1996

Acknowledgments
Credits

Maps
East Africa
Serengeti National Park
Gombe National Park
Ngorongoro Crater

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