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Beyond The Secret Elephants is the continuing story of Gareth Patterson’s almost two decades of research into the secretive Knysna elephants. Significantly, however, it also reveals his startling discovery of a much more mysterious being than the elephants – a relict hominoid known to the indigenous forest people as the Otang.
Gareth had long heard about the existence of the otang from the local people but he mentioned it only briefly in The Secret Elephants, focusing instead on his rediscovery of the Knysna elephants and their survival against the odds. He was reluctant to blur the story of the elephants with his findings about the otang. That is, until now. The possible existence of relict hominoids is today gaining momentum worldwide with ongoing research into Bigfoot in North America, the Yeti in the Himalayas and the Orang Pendek in Sumatra. Eminent conservationists and scientists – among them Dr Jane Goodall, Dr George Schaller and Professor Jeff Meldrum – have publicly stated that they are open-minded about the possible existence of these cryptid beings.
In the course of his unannounced research into the otang Gareth heard many accounts – mostly spontaneous and unprompted – of otang sightings by others in the area over a number of years. These accounts, documented in the book, are astonishingly consistent both in the descriptions of the otang and in the shocked reactions of the individuals who saw them.
Gareth Patterson’s work supports the increasing realisation that humankind still has much to learn about the natural world and the mysteries it holds. The possibility that we may be sharing our world with other as yet unidentified hominoids is today being viewed as something that should not be discounted. And as humankind, we need to reassess our role and our responsibility towards all forms of life that coexist with us on planet Earth.
The Africa-wide Great Elephant Census of 2016 produced shocking fi ndings: a decimated elephant population whose numbers were continuing to plummet. Elephants are killed, on average, every 15–20 minutes – a situation that will see the fi nal demise of these intelligent, extraordinary animals in less than three decades. They are a species in crisis. This magnifi cent book offers chapters written by the most prominent people in the realm of conservation and wildlife, among them researchers, conservationists, film makers, criminologists, TV personalities and journalists. Photographs have been selected from among Africa’s best wildlife photographers, and the Foreword is provided by Prince William.
It is hoped this book will create awareness of the devastating loss of elephant lives in Africa and stem the tide of poaching and hunting; that it will inspire the delegates to CITES to make informed decisions to ensure that all loopholes in the ivory trade are closed; and that countries receiving and using ivory (both legal and poached) – primarily China, Vietnam, Laos and Japan – ban and strenuously police its trade and use within their borders, actively pursuing and arresting syndicate leaders driving the cruel poaching tsunami.
This book is also a tribute to the many people who work for the welfare of elephants, particularly those who risk their lives for wildlife each day, often for little or no pay – in particular the fi eld rangers and the anti-poaching teams; and to the many communities around Africa that have elected to work with elephants and not against them.
The Last Elephants – is the title prophetic? We hope not, but the signs are worrying.
Sharks are among the most persecuted animals on Earth. Nicole’s block-buster story lifts the lid on the shocking details of the trade in shark fins, and raises awareness of the plight of sharks in the 21st century.
In November 2003 a female Great White Shark was tagged near Dyer Island in South Africa. Her tag popped up in February 2004, just south of Western Australia. The shark, later to be named Nicole (after shark enthusiast Nicole Kidman), had swum an epic 11,000 km. Scientists were even more surprised when she was identified back in South Africa in August 2004 – she had covered 22,000 km in less than nine months, using pinpoint navigation both ways.
Since then, many Great Whites have been tagged and have shown a propensity for undertaking long migrations – but none has yet matched Nicole's amazing feat. This story incorporates a blend of science, actual events and real people, along with conjecture as to what might have happened on Nicole's momentous journey.
An essential guide for those dealing with the Cape Water Crisis and for general water saving in South and southern Africa, a notoriously water-scarce region.
Three provinces in South Africa have been declared national disaster zones because of drought. The way we think about water needs to change, and fast. This is especially true for those of us who have running water and flush sanitation piped into our homes. For millions of South Africans, water is already a precious resource that costs toil to collect and fuel to heat. Our middle-class expectations that water will gush steaming from our dozens of indoor taps 24/7 are going to look as bizarre to future generations as the spectacle of Cleopatra bathing in asses’ milk. Our Roman-orgy relationship with water is over.
This book will hopefully help to alleviate water panic and distress. A “can-do” compendium, it’s meant to be a guide, not prescriptive – not all solutions or tips are one-size-fits-all. Think of it as an ally in your fight to save water and part of your survival kit, along with the first-aid box; Valium for water-worriers.
After centuries of relative isolation, the Karoo – South Africa’s parched heartland – is a latecomer to the tourist industry. What was once viewed as a harsh and desolate place of limited attraction is rapidly gaining popularity with visitors who now make the Karoo their destination, keen to partake of its legendary charm, its extraordinary flora and the resurgence of wildlife that once again populates its plains.
Wild Karoo documents Mitch Reardon’s 4,000-kilometre journey of discovery through the region. The book focuses on:
Beautifully written, and illustrated with evocative photographs, this book is a must read for anyone interested in travel, wildlife and the environment.
From the depths of the oceans to the highest reaches of the atmosphere, the human impact on the environment is significant and undeniable. These forms of global and local environmental change collectively appear to signal the arrival of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. This is a geological era defined not by natural environmental fluctuations or meteorite impacts, but by collective actions of humanity. Environmental Transformations offers a concise and accessible introduction to the human practices and systems that sustain the Anthropocene. It combines accounts of the carbon cycle, global heat balances, entropy, hydrology, forest ecology and pedology, with theories of demography, war, industrial capitalism, urban development, state theory and behavioural psychology. This book charts the particular role of geography and geographers in studying environmental change and its human drivers. It provides a review of critical theories that can help to uncover the socio-economic and political factors that influence environmental change. It also explores key issues in contemporary environmental studies, such as resource use, water scarcity, climate change, industrial pollution and deforestation. These issues are 'mapped' through a series of geographical case studies to illustrate the particular value of geographical notions of space, place and scale, in uncovering the complex nature of environmental change in different socio-economic, political and cultural contexts. Finally, the book considers the different ways in which nations, communities and individuals around the world are adapting to environmental change in the twenty-first century. Particular attention is given throughout to the uneven geographical opportunities that different communities have to adapt to environmental change and to the questions of social justice this situation raises. This book encourages students to engage in the scientific uncertainties that surround the study of environmental change, while also discussing both pessimistic and more optimistic views on the ability of humanity to address the environmental challenges of our current era.
Elephants are arguably Africa’s most charismatic animals, and among the biggest drawcards to our game reserves. While the burgeoning game-park industry may be increasing our access to these magnificent creatures, rising human-elephant encounters are an inevitable outcome – sometimes, sadly, fatal. Such encounters could likely have been avoided had those involved understood elephant behaviour, and particularly how these intelligent animals interface with traffic through their territory.
This book describes elephant family life, from rearing of infants to establishing dominance within a herd; it unpacks regular elephant behaviour, the matriarchal system, the particular dangers of males in musth, and many other aspects of their lives. Most of all, it provides guidelines for ensuring safe and enjoyable encounters with these majestic animals.
This is an essential guide for those planning visits to reserves: aside from the interest factor, being able to read the tell-tale signs may just save lives.
Predictability isn’t a word you will find in any Bushveld dictionary, and the life of wildlife guardian Mario Cesare has been anything but. After years as warden of Olifants River Game Reserve, his feet are firmly planted in this magnificent slice of Big Five country to the west of the Kruger Park, where he has experienced a rich life packed full of incidents far from routine.
In Heart Of A Game Ranger, Cesare recounts some of these hair-raising, heart-breaking and heart-warming moments: a buffalo calf reunited with its pining mother, injured lions given second chances and rhinos lost, one by one, to poaching. Nestled among these tales, Cesare pays homage to the brave, dedicated and curious personalities engaged in a deadly combat on the most majestic of battlefields. Yet, while rhino poaching is by far the reserve’s biggest problem, Cesare reveals how the daily struggles of a game ranger are so much broader – and the rewards, when they come, immense.
Heart Of A Game Ranger is a story of extremes, one of fierce loyalty and devastating betrayal where spectacular days that end in exhausted satisfaction and achievement are balanced by those that leave behind only despair and frustration. Seen through his eyes and spoken from the heart, Cesare tells a deeply personal story – not only of a life lived wild, but of the joy of Africa’s incredible natural world.
Dead Zone takes the reader on a journey around the world, travelling from the rainforests of the Amazon to the Midwest plains of America; the palm plantations of Sumatra to the volcanic diversity of Galapagos; the grasslands of England to the Malaysian jungle. In a global safari focussing on some of the world’s most endangered species, it exposes a little known but key factor in their demise: the cheap meat on supermarket shelves. This sequel to Farmageddon lays bare the myths that prop up factory farming and shows what we can do to save the planet with healthy food.
Some may see intensive farming as a necessary evil. After all, we need to produce more food for a growing global population and are led to believe that squeezing animals into factory farms and growing crops in vast, chemical-soaked prairies, is efficient and leaves land free for wildlife – but this is far from the truth. With the limits of the planet’s resources now seemingly within touching distance, awareness is growing about how the well-being of society depends on a thriving natural world. Through the lens of a dozen iconic and endangered species, Dead Zone examines the role of industrial farming in their plight and meets the people doing something about it.
Philip Lymbery is the CEO of leading international farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion in World Farming, and a prominent commentator on the effects of industrial farming.
In this book, Adrian Koopman describes the complex relationship between birds, the Zulu language and Zulu culture. A number of chapters look at the underlying meaning of bird names, and here we will find that the Zulu name of the Goliath Heron means ‘what gives birth to baby crocodiles’, the dikkop (umbangaqhwa) means ‘what causes frost’, and the African Hoopoe is a party-goer who wears a colourful blanket.
The book goes further than just Zulu names, exploring the underlying meanings of bird names from other South African languages and languages from Central and East Africa. Here we find birds with names that translate as ‘cool-porridge’, ‘kiss-banana-flower’ and ‘waiter-at-the-end-of-the furrow’.
A focus on Zulu traditional oral literature details the roles birds have played in Zulu praise poetry (including the praise poems of certain birds themselves) and in proverbs, riddles and children’s games. Also considered is traditional bird lore, examining the role played by various species as omens and portents, as indicators of bad luck and evil, as forecasters of rain and storm, and as harbingers of the seasons. Here we see that the Bateleur Eagle (ingqungqulu) is linked to war, the Southern Ground Hornbill (insingizi) to thunder and heavy rain, the Red-chested Cuckoo (uphezukokhono) to the start of the ploughing season, and the Jacobin Cuckoo (inkanku) to the start of summer.
Zulu Bird Names and Bird Lore discusses the Zulu Bird Name Project, a series of Zulu bird name workshops held between 2013 and 2017 with Zulu-speaking bird guides designed to confirm (or otherwise) all previously recorded Zulu names for birds, while at the same time devising new names for those without previously recorded names. The result has been a list of species-specific names for all birds in the Zulu-speaking region. Finally, the book turns to the role such new bird names can play in conservation education and in avi-tourism.
In April 2019 Lord Ashcroft published the results of his year-long investigation into South Africa's captive-bred lion industry. Over eleven pages of a single edition of the Mail on Sunday he showed why this sickening trade, which involves appalling cruelty to the 'King of the Savannah' from birth to death, has become a stain on the country.
Unfair Game features the shocking results of a new inquiry Lord Ashcroft has conducted into South Africa's lion business. In the book, he shows how tourists are unwittingly being used to support the abuse of lions; he details how lions are being tranquilised and then hunted in enclosed spaces; he urges the British government to ban the import of captive-bred lion trophies; and he demonstrates why Asia's insatiable appetite for lion bones has become a multimillion-dollar business linked to criminality and corruption, which now underpins South Africa's captive lion industry.
With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, breathtakingly beautiful still photography, specially commissioned maps and graphics, and compelling text expanding on the remarkable TV stories and giving the reader a depth of information that is impossible on screen, this companion to the groundbreaking NETFLIX series presents a whole new view of the place we call home.
Featuring some of the world's rarest creatures and previously unseen parts of the Earth—from deep oceans to remote forests to ice caps—Our Planet takes nature-lovers deep into the science of our natural world. Revealing the most amazing sights on Earth in unprecedented ways, alongside stories of the ways humans are affecting the world’s ecosystems—from the wildebeest migrations in Africa to the penguin colonies of Antarctica—this book captures in one concise narrative a fundamental message:
What we do in the next twenty years will determine the future of not just the natural world but humanity itself. If we don't act now to protect and preserve our planet, the beauty we're lucky enough to witness on these pages will have disappeared...
The aggressive poaching of rhinos needs to be countered with equal aggression. So argued Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the founder president of the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF), at a 1987 meeting with John Hanks, conservation expert and WWFís head in Africa. The result was Operation lock, a secret initiative funded by Prince Bernhard and staffed by former SAS operatives. Operation lock set up headquarters in Johannesburg and extended its reach into neighbouring states: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. Its operatives planned to train game rangers, to pose as rhino horn traders in order to entrap buyers, and to expose the kingpins who were driving the trade. It was a controversial approach, all the more because it was working within apartheid South Africa in the late 1980s. When the existence of the project was finally leaked, WWF denied any involvement, and John Hanks took the fall. In Operation lock and the War on rhino poaching, John Hanks finally tells the story of these explosive events from 25 years ago. As a leading international authority on conservation, he also deals with the scourge of rhino poaching up to the present, and gives powerful and controversial criticism of some of the current policies to curb poaching.
Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
'The remarkable story of an astounding transformation' George Monbiot
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp in West Sussex was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Once-common species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
This recovery has taken place against a backdrop of catastrophic loss elsewhere. According to the 2016 ‘State of Nature’ report, the UK is ranked 29th in the world for biodiversity loss: 56% of species in the UK are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. We are living in a desert, compared with our gloriously wild past.
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’ and what it reveals of the ways in which we might regain that wilder, richer country. It shows how rewilding works across Europe; that it has multiple benefits for the land; that it can generate economic activity and employment; how it can benefit both nature and us – and that all of this can happen astonishingly quickly. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.
You know you should be doing something to help save our planet, but it sounds hard, something that you will tackle another day.
Going green all at once is too much for almost anyone to achieve. Instead, try to make just one change, or add one new sustainable habit, each week. After one year you will be amazed at how much you have accomplished.
A Greener Tomorrow will give you tips on simple things that you can start doing straight away – be it at work, at home, and in your garden. Let’s all do our part in saving this planet – allowing our children’s grandchildren to still live in a world that is beautiful.
A Greener Tomorrow contains over 150 bite-sized chunks of greening advice from the likes of eco-friendly South Africans Arthur Goldstuck; Ashley Hayden; Barry Ronge; Brand Pretorius; Bryan Habana; Casey B. Dolan; Caspe De Vries; Damon Galgut; Gary Kirsten; Jan Braai; Jane Griffiths; Jassy Mackenzie; John van de Ruit; Marc Lottering; Max du Preez; Michiel Heyns; Paige Nick; Romy Titus; Tanit Phoenix; Tony Leon and more.
THE LAST GIANTS explores the rapid decline of one of the world's favourite animals and the measures required to halt their extinction, through Levison Wood's time spent with elephants in Africa.
This book comes at a critical time. Thirty years ago, Africa was home to a million elephants, today the figure stands at only half that. Meanwhile in the span of a lifetime, the human population has more than doubled.
In Levison Wood's THE LAST GIANTS, he explores the rapid decline of one of the world's favourite animals. Filled with stories from his own time spent travelling with elephants in Africa, the book is a passionate wake-up call for this endangered species we take for granted. THE LAST GIANTS was written to inspire us all to act - to learn more and help save the species from permanent extinction.
The remarkable story of Grant Fowlds, a conservationist who has dedicated his life to saving the last rhinos, vividly told with the help of Graham Spence, co-author of the bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.
What would drive a man to ‘smuggle’ rhino horn back into Africa at great risk to himself? This is just one of the situations Grant Fowlds has put himself in as part of his ongoing fight against poaching, in order to prove a link between southern Africa and the illicit, lucrative trade in rhino horn in Vietnam.
Shavings of rhino horn are sold as a snake-oil ‘cure’ for colds or impotence, but a rhino’s horn has no magical, medicinal properties. It is for this that rhinoceroses are being killed at an escalating rate that puts the survival of the species in jeopardy. This corrupt, illegal war on wildlife has brought an iconic animal to the brink of extinction.
Growing up on a farm in the eastern Cape of South Africa, Grant developed a deep love of nature, turning his back on hunting to focus on saving wildlife of all kinds and the environment that sustains both them and us. He is a passionate conservationist who puts himself on the front line of protecting rhinos in the wild – right now, against armed poachers; but in the longer term, too, through his work with schoolchildren, communities and policymakers.
In 2016 the number of rhinos poached in South Africa stood at 1054 (Department of Environmental Affairs). In 2017, 529 rhinos had been slaughtered by 24th July. In the last nine years, over 6100 rhinos have been poached in South Africa leaving fewer than 19000 white, and 2000 black rhinos in the country. The situation is critical.
World-renowned wildlife trackers Alex van den Heever and Renias Mhlongo have spent more than two decades working together, tracking leopards and lions at Londolozi, jaguars in South America and grizzly bears in the United States.
In Changing a Leopard’s Spots, Alex shares stories from his life with Renias, including the successes, failures, dramas, laughter, disappointments and highlights. As they experience numerous adventures, Alex and Renias learn to trust and rely on one another – both in order to stay alive, in a literal sense because of the sometimes dangerous environments in which they work, but also to develop a deep and meaningful relationship.
By challenging each other and learning from one another they break down social, cultural, racial and personal boundaries and obstacles that often divide South Africans; and in the process, the two men forge an unbreakable bond.
How the rewilding of eight acres of Norfolk marshland inspired a family and brought nature even closer to home. When writer Simon Barnes heard a Cetti's warbler sing out as he turned up to look at a house for sale, he knew immediately that he had found his new home. The fact that his garden backed onto an area of marshy land only increased the possibilities, but there was always the fear that it might end up in the wrong hands and be lost to development or intensive farming. His wife saw through the delicate negotiations for the purchase. Once they'd bought it, they began to manage it as a conservation area, working with the Wildlife Trust to ensure it became as appealing as possible to all species. For their son Eddie, who has Down's syndrome, it became a place of calm and inspiration. In On The Marsh, we see how nature can always bring surprises, and share in the triumphs as new animals - Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs - arrive, and watch as the number of species of bird tops 100 and keeps on growing. As the seasons go by, there are moments of triumph when not one but two marsh harrier families use the marsh as a hunting ground, but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture in newly turned earth. For anyone who enjoyed books such as Meadowland, or the writing of Stephen Moss, Roger Deakin or Adam Nicolson, this is a vivid and beautifully written account of the wonders that can sometimes be found on our doorsteps, and how nature can transform us all.
Great White sharks, attracted by an offshore seal colony, have brought success to the adjacent fishing village of Gansbaai along the southern African coast. A flourishing shark cage diving industry has sprung up, bringing jobs and money, and so benefiting almost the entire community. Tourists come from far and near to experience the thrill of a real-life brush with the legendary ‘Jaws’. Shark Town, as it has become known, is booming. Then one day, the sharks disappear. Slowly at first, but with gathering momentum, the word spreads: cage diving off Gansbaai can no longer promise the thrill of an encounter. The crowds thin, the boats remain at their moorings, and the once bustling community waits as their livelihoods tail off. Entrepreneurs and scientists alike are baffled.
But it’s not long before shark carcasses start washing up on the beaches. These, together with some coincidental sightings of another apex predator in the vicinity, are the first leads to the possible causes and culprits. Against the clamour and thrill of the cage-diving season in full swing, Richard Peirce visits the unfolding drama and explores what’s behind these strange events.
We've reached an environmental crisis point with plastic, and it's time to take action. But is it possible to make positive changes without radically changing your lifestyle? Absolutely! This practical book suggests eco-friendly alternatives to plastic, including budget options, high-street substitutes and DIY ideas to help you drastically reduce your plastic consumption. With 101 simple ways to use less plastic, you'll find it easy to take the first step and make a difference.
The Little Book of Going Green aims to shed light on the ways humans are harming the environment, from pollution and deforestation to industrial production and farming methods. Filled with facts, theories and tips on how we can do our bit for the planet, this is your one-stop guide to making every aspect of your life earth-friendly.
For a sustainable urban future to be possible, a new botanical discipline is needed to deepen our understanding of the relations between people and plants. This discipline will link environmental management concerns with those of human welfare and wellbeing in a specifically urban context to achieve both ecological restorations and social redress. The Durban Botanic Gardens Trust has published The Durban Forest as an early effort to establish a manifesto for this much-needed new discipline, and provides both historical and forward-looking perspectives on the changing relations between natural areas and urban dwellers. These relations urgently await our exploration if we are to face the challenges of the accelerating urbanism and environmental change that are now upon us. The Durban forest will appeal to all those interested in people and the environment, culture and community, our past and our future. Most of all, it will speak to the Durban of tomorrow and suggest a new kind of botany that will help to build a future for all Durbanís residents that is environmentally, socially and economically more just and more secure. The Durban forest is the first in a series of publications planned by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust. The series is to be entitled umKhuhlu, the African name for Trichilia dregeana, the forest mahogany and an iconic Durban tree. The series will draw on the gardenís reputation as Durbanís oldest, and one of its most treasured public institutions in order to encourage a new model of plant use. This model aspires to a specific urban, humanitarian and restorative focus that will support a just and resilient urbanism.
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