Pacific Book Review
Daniel B. Botkin virtually takes you to Tsavo on the first chapter. The author ensures you get a basic feeling of the National park in Kenya if you have never been there. His style of writing is incredible, as he wonderfully describes how the herd of elephants moves across Tsavo’s dry plains. Stylistic devices like similes and metaphors are embodied in the text, making the book even more interesting. Through the author’s narration, one can only imagine how much fun he had at the national park. His way of describing the events is out of this world and makes the reader wish to really have seen all that he saw.
The book not only talks about Tsavo and game life in Kenya, but also touches on some towns, sceneries, and other parts in the east African country. At the start of every chapter, the author inserted quotes by known significant individuals in history. The nuggets of wisdom are from historical figures like Richard Feynman, C.G. Jung, William Empson, Lawrence M. Witmer, Joseph Conrad and many more. These little pieces of texts not only make the book more aesthetic but also introduce the reader to new subjects and content. The book captures details of the happenings and occurrences, the author and his team of researchers went through while in East Africa. Their encounter with the wild, their resentment for poachers and their mission to save elephants made the book thrilling.
It is a shame that humans can be selfish and choose to terminate the life of the wild animals, just for personal benefits. When reading this book, you will get an insight into why it is important that everyone takes part in the quest to save the remaining elephants in the world, and protecting all game animals.
Another great thing about Tsavo: Oddball Researchers Use Data and Guns to Save African Elephants is that the book is factual. All the events, experiences and places mentioned are real. Reading the book gave the feeling of being part of the author and his associates’ life. Their encounters are authoritative, and one has the genuine feeling that the author put in a lot of work when piecing every experience together.
The accounts are clearly stated, and every detail is captured. The author is also explicit in his feelings towards the poaching menace, and how much of a loss it is. Though severally mentioned, there is an entire chapter the author dedicated to talking about the subject of poachers. It was agonizing to read about all the bad stuff poachers and other criminals do to elephants. The author evoked a feeling of affliction in me, as I read through the chapter. He enabled me to see better how much damage has been caused to elephants over the years.
Daniel B. Botkin really had an adventurous experience in Africa; one that had high moments and a few challenges. This book is for everyone who is passionate about the wildlife and had little or no idea how beautiful Kenya and East Africa is. Reading through will help you understand why elephants and other wild animals need to be guarded with all resources available.
A novel recounts the experiences of an eclectic group of conservationists, scientists, and safari guides sent on a dangerous expedition to Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
It is 1979, a decade after overpopulation followed by a major drought resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 of the 30,000 elephants in Tsavo. In their search for food and water, the elephants knocked down trees and trampled foliage, leaving behind a barren wasteland. Now the animals appear to be back. Nobody knows how many there are, but they are once again being hunted by poachers. The International Endangered Species Consortium is funding a safari to count the herds and to determine whether the environment is viable as an elephant sanctuary. Four scientists, two leading conservationists, three experienced guides, and one Maasai game warden make up the diverse coalition of American, British, and African adventurers crossing into the hot and dusty plains of Tsavo to save the elephants. Bruce Airley, a British-American in his mid-40s who was raised in Africa and has a complicated backstory, leads an ensemble cast of characters who find themselves threatened by lions, leopards, deadly poachers, and a hostile indigenous tribe (the Waliangulu) fond of shooting small poison arrows. Plus there are personal challenges—conflicting egos, long-standing rivalries, inner demons—that must be overcome if the group is to survive. Botkin (25 Myths that Are Destroying the Environment, 2015) and debut author Melcher weave together the former's own field experiences and observations, creating a realistic fictional overlay for the discussion of ivory poaching and human interference with nature. The most beautiful—and most painful—passages center on the magnificent "jumbo" elephants, especially Zamani Baba, the biggest of the big, oldest of the old. He is powerful, fierce, intelligent, and tender: "As the old bull approached, the other two turned their heads toward him. He came alongside and stopped, and, putting his trunk over each, one at a time, rubbed their backs." The human drama is action-filled and engaging, but it is the elephants that will likely bring readers to tears.
In this day of trophy hunting and ivory poaching, a timely and soulful elephant tale with complex characters.