16 September, 2007

'Cry Of The Kalahari'

If you love animals, deserts and the wilderness - the way I do, then 'Cry Of The Kalahari' is a must read. First published in 1992 and written by Mark Owens and Delia Owens and set in the Kalahari desert, the book is fascinating and sticks to the mind for a long time after reading it - especially the awesome beauty of the Kalahari and the animals that live there.

Though, I oppose the method used by the Owense's to study the animals in the desert, hyenas in particular, and the way they portray the Tswana tribe of Botswana and the Bushmen who live in the desert (the Owense's seem to have very little understanding of the tribes and how African tribes have always managed to live peacefully with wild animals) - still, the Owense's do an excellent job in describing wildlife and tell a captivating story. We learn a lot about the lions, brown hyenas and other animals they study in the Kalahari desert. Their insights into the behavior and range of lions, cheetahs, wildebeests and hyenas - are fascinating and have very much helped in raising awareness about the dangers that wild animals face from encroachment by man and the threat posed by human growth and greed.

Mark and Delia are without doubt dedicated to wildlife and greatly love animals, but it is their approach to how wildlife should be conserved that got them in to controversy and trouble and their being kicked out of Botswana. Since then, Botswana - though with very limited resources and with the HIV/AIDS pandemic enormously straining it - has come a long way in protecting its habitat and wildlife. Though 'Cry Of The Kalahari' has been around for almost fifteen years now, it is a must read for those wanting to learn more about the wilds of Africa or anyone wanting a good adventure from the safety of their living room. And for those living close to deserts, as I do, they would find the book more relevant and educative.