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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Born to be Free tells the heart-warming true story of lion expert Gareth Patterson introducing George Adamson’s orphaned lion cubs back into the wild

When the grand old ‘lion man of Africa’, George Adamson, passed away, the last of his lion cub orphans faced an uncertain future.

Would the cubs have to spend their entire lives behind bars in a zoo, or would they have a free life in the wild, as George had intended for them?

Lion expert Gareth Patterson rescues George’s cubs and, by living as a human member of the little pride, Gareth prepares to introduce the young lions back into the wild.

This heart-warming book tells the true story of lioness Rafiki, her sister, Furaha, and her brother, Batian.

• Many years ago, it was estimated that some 250 000 lions existed across the continent of Africa. Today it is thought that only 20 000 lions remain. Due to the actions of poachers, trophy hunters and conflict with people because of their livestock, the mighty king of the animals is in real trouble.

• The title of this book is Born to be Free and that is what all lions and other wild animals should be – free. Free to live their lives in the wild as nature had intended. Rafiki’s story shows how important it is for lions to be free – and that we should protected from harm. The African bush would no longer be the same if all the lions were gone. What would we say to our children’s children if the last lion was gone – forever gone?

• That is why all of us must hold the lion in our hearts, and do our best to protect Rafiki’s kind.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in west, east and southern Africa, Gareth’s entire adult life has been dedicated to the greater protection of the African lion and Africa’s elephants. He has written about his life in the wilds in 11 internationally published books, and his story has been broadcasted across the world in documentaries such as In Tribute to George Adamson, Shadows of Gold and Gray and the Animal Planet documentary, The Search for the Knysna Elephants. Patterson was presented with the Nick Steele Memorial Award for the Environmentalist of the Year at the SAB Environmental Media Awards 2016.

Visit Gareth’s personal website: www.garethpatterson.com
Visit Sekai’s website (Gareth’s African Environmentalism Group): www.sekaiafrica.com

PRAISE FOR GARETH PATTERSON

Last of the Free

‘An extraordinary tale of endurance, triumph and tragedy’ – The Times, London.

‘… Through it all emerges a character deeply in love with his charges, someone whose passion may well ensure that they are not the last of the free great predators.’ – Kirkus Review

‘An extraordinary story.’ – Daily Mail

‘A story about hardship, dedication and demanding work … a message that deserves wide readership.’ – Literary Journal ‘It is both heart-warming and heart-rending and I defy you to read it without a tear in your eye.’ – Manchester Evening News

With My Soul Amongst Lions

‘Patterson soldiers on, triumphing over adversities that would have broken lesser men … like Adamson before him, he cannot bear to think of a lion that is not free.’ – The Times, London

‘Movingly told … a story of one man’s amazing devotion’. – Today

‘His story, tinged with triumph and tragedy in equal measure, is a powerful plea on behalf of all lions.’ – BBC Wildlife magazine

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David Bristow received 174 rejection slips before Jacana published Running Wild. The Daily Maverick asked why he persevered…

Running WildFollowing in the footsteps of Jock of the Bushveld, Running Wild is an African story for all ages. It is a tale of resilience, of courage and endurance, a book that will uplift, enrich and warm every lover of the African bush.

The story of Zulu is based on the life of a real stallion that lived on the Mashatu Game Reserve. The versions of the story of Zulu are about as numerous as the people who recount them. The horse and the myth were at times indistinguishable. This account of his life has been stitched together from all those stories.

In February 2000, tropical Cyclone Leon-Eline resulted in a storm so severe that the horses of Mashatu broke out of their enclosure and roamed wild and free for days before returning. Zulu was the only one that did not return. He was thought to be lost to the scourges of the Bushveld.

Years pass before Zulu is discovered to be not only alive and well, but running as the lead stallion of a herd of wild zebras. He is recaptured and returned to the safari stables as a much bolder and wiser stallion – knowledge he passes on to the other horses as well as the humans of Limpopo Valley.

David Bristow has a degree in journalism. He is one of South Africa’s first full-time travel photojournalists and was the editor of Getaway magazine. David has written more than 20 books about Africa, taking a three-year sabbatical mid-career to earn a master’s degree in environmental sciences.

As well as travelling from Antarctica to Alaska, Hillbrow to the Himalayas, he has ridden horse safaris in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya. David now lives on a lake close to the sea near Cape Town with his partner, one cat, two surfboards, three canoes and four bicycles. He has three children and a grand one.

Upon hearing that Bristow received 174 rejection slips before Jacana okay’d his manuscript, the Daily Maverick’s Tiara Walters was intrigued as to why exactly David didn’t just. give. up. Here’s why…

DM: I don’t understand. Why not just self-publish after rejection slip number 83, for argument’s sake?

DB: I really believed in the story, simple as that. I just had to convince someone else. As soon as Jacana heard the premise, they jumped at it, smart people.

With regards to self-publishing, or not in this case, it was about shelf space and numbers. If your book isn’t housewives’ porn or young adult fantasy, you don’t want to go that route unless you are serious about selling books. Making them is the easy part. This is not my first book by a long way so it was not what they call a “vanity-publishing” exercise. But it was my first paperback, so it needed to be a commercial success. I’ve thrown a lot of marketing resources at it, from serious media launches to talks at book clubs.

I think the story of Zulu has the potential of becoming a modern-day equivalent of Jock of the Bushveld. It’s the rollicking, true story of an African stallion that bolts from his stable during the cyclonic floods of 2000, joins a dazzle of zebras in Mashatu Game Reserve and, remarkably, rises to the position of lead stallion.

DM: So what was the problem, then? Were you not photogenic enough? I heard this might be a thing in the unsparing world of contemporary publishing now.

DB: Yup, ugly as original sin. My girlfriend calls me OS (although that might just be os) (os n. Afrikaans for bovine male. Sometimes used for pulling vehicles or carrying things). But also publishing is like that well-trotted-out saying about capitalism: it’s a kak system, but it’s the best we’ve got. Which I guess is my way of saying they know nothing. The accountants and marketing people make all the decisions. And they think only in boxes (very small ones usually), like, does this book fit neatly into one of our sure-selling categories?

DM: Is Zulu the only horse ever known to have “gone” zebra? Did you look for other, um, “horsebra” stories? Perhaps it’s not entirely fanciful to picture a dazzle of zebra running wild through the Namib, displaying suspiciously desert horse-like traits.

DB: In the wilds, yes, this is unique. In captivity zebras and horses, as well as zebras and donkeys, have been crossed. Crosses were common amusements in Victorian circuses, but it was always a zebra male and female horse (zorses). The other way around is not known to ever have occurred. Not even the equine scientists could tell me why.

Continue reading their conversation HERE.

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The rhino war in South Africa has entered its 10th year. How can we win this battle?

The rhino does not belong to us. It belongs to no one. All that we own is the responsibility of ensuring that it persists and that future books on the rhino are written about its expanded range and not its declining future. – Yolan Friedman (Endangered Wildlife Trust)

How is South Africa going to sustain the cost of securing rhino while the belief continues to persist that the enemy lies elsewhere in Southeast Asia?

The Walkers believe that the problem actually lies in South Africa’s own backyard.

This book discusses corruption and the criminal justice system, the need for more community engagement and the costs of protection. It also looks at how far have we come since the rhino wars in the 1980s and the rhino trade debate.

We have to shift from the negative to an element of the positive. People are tired of seeing dead and dying rhino. There is some optimism due to the excellent work being undertaken by the state and the private sector at many levels in security, tourism, community involvement and environmental education, as well as NGO support.

There are no easy solutions to this battle, but all is not lost.

It is the opinion of the authors that the private rhino owner, often working in cooperation with the state, will emerge as a key factor in the struggle to win the war. In order to have a victory, we need to have a battle. The time has come when one has to be ‘soft enough to wear silk and tough enough to slay the dragon’. Rhino Revolution testifies to the many people doing just that.

The rhino war in South Africa has entered its 10th year, and last year saw 662 rhino killed in Kruger alone – and over 1000 in total for South Africa. Clive and Anton Walker, authors of the bestselling Rhino Keepers (2012), have once again come up with a fresh, new look at the ongoing rhino crisis. With magnificent photographs and afterwords by John Hanks and Yolan Friedman.

Clive Walker entered the battle for the rhino with the founding of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 1973. He co-founded the Rhino and Elephant Foundation and the African Rhino Owners Association, and served on the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group for close on 14 years. He served as a member of the South African Parks Board from 2000 to 2006.

Anton Walker, Clive’s son, grew up largely at Lapalala Wilderness, the reserve that was to become an important rhino sanctuary and a world-class environmental school in the bush. Anton joined the permanent staff of the reserve in 1996 and was the general manager of the 45 000-hectare sanctuary until October 2017. He has since taken up the position of director and curator of the Waterberg Living Museum in the Waterberg of Limpopo. His knowledge of both species of rhino is extensive in all areas of management, capture, monitoring, field operations and aerial surveys. His special interest lies in the fossil record of the rhino.

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The signs of invertebrates’ day-to-day activities are all around us. Lee Gutteridge shows us where to look…

The Invertrebrates of Southern Africa

This book intensively covers a never-before-explored aspect of Southern African nature and is an essential new addition to the library of every nature lover.

It was researched and written over the last four and a half years to open a door to a little known micro-world that exists all around us. Invertebrates – which include commonly seen creatures such as butterflies, spiders, beetles, worms and scorpions – are everywhere.

The signs of their day-to-day activities are all around us if we know where to look.

The life cycles and behaviours of many animals are discussed, with a special focus on interactions between mammals and invertebrates – a fascinating subject in itself.

While working on this book, Lee Gutteridge spent many hours in the field with expert entomologists and arachnologists, many of whom commented that; even though they had spent a lifetime in the field, this experience, of invertebrate tracking, had changed the way that they see the invertebrate world.

With funding received from the Oppenheimer family, 250 copies will be donated to indigenous trackers, whose knowledge Lee appreciates and respects.
 
 
Lee Gutteridge is an experienced, enthusiastic and well-known wild life author, nature guide and trainer. With 25 years of experience in the bush, he has come to realise that guiding is not just about knowledge, but more importantly about how we share it with our guests from around the world. He personally trains for many well-known and highly experienced guide and tracker teams at some of the southern and central African region’s top lodges, with programmes focusing on a wide range of subjects including track identification skills.

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Listen: AmaBookaBooka interview Christa Kuljian

In 1871, Darwin predicted that humans evolved in Africa. European scientists thought his claim astonishing and it took the better part of a century for Darwin to be proven correct. From Raymond Dart’s description of the Taung Child Skull in 1925 to Lee Berger’s announcement of Homo Naledi in 2015, South Africa has been the site of fossil discoveries that have led us to explore our understanding of human evolution.

Darwin’s Hunch reviews how the search for human origins has been shaped by a changing social and political context. The book engages with the concept of race, from the race typology of the 1920s and ’30s to the post-World War II concern with race, to the impact of apartheid and its demise. The book explores the scientific racism that often placed people in a hierarchy of race and treated them as objects to be measured.

In 1987, the publication of “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution” suggested that all living humans could trace their ancestry back to an African woman 200,000 years ago. Again, many scientists and the general public in the West were slow to accept such a claim.

Listen to author Christa Kuljian discuss her Alan Paton award shortlisted book, sharing her thoughts on revisiting science, and repeating Australopithecus Africanus 10 times in this recent AmaBookaBooka interview:

 

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Want to learn how to write non-fiction? Join the Writing Masterclass with Christa Kuljian at Bridge Books

 

Join us for Jacana Media’s new series of Masterclasses for aspiring writers.

Christa Kuljian, author of Darwin’s Hunch and Sanctuary, will present the Masterclass at Bridge Books and share her insights on writing, non-fiction writing in particular.

Contact Bridge Books or visit bridgebooks.co.za for details.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 30 March 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Bridge Books, 85 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Christa Kuljian
  • Cover charge: R150
  • (includes a copy of her book)

  • RSVP: info@bridgebooks.co.za, 079 708 4461,
    https://bridgebooks.co.za/

 
 
 

  • Darwin's HunchBook details
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  • Sanctuary

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    Join Christa Kuljian and Ciraj Rassool at the launch of Darwin’s Hunch at The Book Lounge

    Invitation to the launch of Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins

     
    Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human OriginsJacana Media and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian.

    Ian Tattersall, Curator emeritus, American Museum of Natural History, said of the book: “With its unsparing wealth of personal and historical detail, there’s nothing else like Darwin’s Hunch available.”

    Kuljian will be in conversation with professor, historian and author Ciraj Rassool.

    Don’t miss it!

    Event Details

    • Date: Tuesday, 29 November 2016
    • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
    • Venue: The Book Lounge
      71 Roeland St
      Cape Town | Map
    • Discussant: Ciraj Rassool
    • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
    • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

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    ‘We are all Africans’ – Christa Kuljian launches Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins

    Ben Williams and Christa Kuljian

     

    Darwin's HunchWits researcher Christa Kuljian was at the Sandton Library recently to launch her new book: Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins.

    The book pays homage to the human evolution theorist Charles Darwin and other naturalists who came after him, such as Raymond Dart, an Australian, and Philip Tobias, an acclaimed South African anthropologist. Tobias was Dart’s colleague and successor at Wits University.

    “There’s a very rich history in this country,” Kuljian said.

    Readers

     

    Dart’s work had gone a long way in convincing the western world that humans had their origins in Africa, not Europe or Asia. But with it, incorrect assumptions travelled back to the west. The Killer Ape Theory was one such theory. This theory, now disproved, proposed aggression and anger also had a hand in moving the evolution of humans forward.

    In the 1980s, the thinking favoured by white supremacists was that different racial groups had evolved “separately” and at different paces.

    The work done by Tobias concluded that race was “a superficial concept”.

    Said Tobias: “The term ‘race’ … is heavily charged emotionally and politically and full of unsound and even dangerous meanings. It is in the name of race that millions of people have been murdered and millions of others are being held in degradation. That is why you cannot afford to remain ignorant about race.

    “We are all Africans,” he believed.

    White supremacism allowed for the exploitation of vulnerable racial groups that were treated as “specimens”, not humans, Kuljian said.

    Killing Bushmen merely for research purposes are some disturbing incidents Kuljian records in Darwin’s Hunch. Laws outlawing such atrocities had to be passed, Kuljian said.

    The crowd

     
    When asked what had been the most shocking behaviour of scientists in their quest for knowledge and their experiments, Kuljian said: “I don’t know if I can tell you that.”

    The details were in the book, she said.

    Darwin’s Hunch is Kuljian’s second book, her first being Sanctuary: How an Inner-city Church Spilled onto a Sidewalk, published in 2013. In writing Sanctuary, Kuljian said she had “spent a lot of time in the Joburg CBD writing about current events”, but with Darwin’s Hunch, the book took her into the archives, dealing with sometimes shocking stories of people who “weren’t alive any longer”.

    At the end of the question and answer session, Jacana Media, the publishers of the book, offered a prize giveaway for a trip to Maropeng.

    Christa KuljianChrista Kuljian

     

    Readers

     

    Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the launch:

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    Don’t miss the launch of the new Roberts Bird Guide and art exhibition

    Invitation to the new Roberts Bird Guide

     
    Roberts Bird Guide: 2nd EditionJacana Media and the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund invite you to the launch of the new edition of the Roberts Bird Guide and a viewing of the original artwork.

    The guide, authored by Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye, is an essential addition to any birder’s library.

    Light refreshments will be served.

    Don’t miss it!

    Event Details

    • Date: Wednesday, 30 November 2016
    • 6 PM: Viewing of the artwork
    • 6:30 PM: Welcome by Mark D Anderson CEO of BirdLife South Africa
    • 6:35 PM: Brief overview of Roberts Bird Guide and artwork by Ingrid Weiersbye, artist and trustee of the JVBBF.
    • Venue: BirdLife South Africa, Isdell House
      17 Hume Road
      Dunkeld West
      Johannesburg | Map
    • Guest Speakers: Mark D Anderson and Ingrid Weiersbye
    • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served
    • RSVP: rsvp@jacana.co.za

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    Don’t miss the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian

    Invitation to the launch of Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins

     

    Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human OriginsJacana Media, WiSER and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Paleosciences invite you to the launch of Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian.

    The event will take place at Wednesday, 2 November at 6 PM.

    See you there!

    About the book:

    In 1871, Darwin predicted that humans evolved in Africa. European scientists thought his claim astonishing and it took the better part of a century for Darwin to be proven correct. From Raymond Dart’s description of the Taung Child Skull in 1925 to Lee Berger’s announcement of Homo Naledi in 2015, South Africa has been the site of fossil discoveries that have led us to explore our understanding of human evolution.

    Darwin’s Hunch reviews how the search for human origins has been shaped by a changing social and political context. The book engages with the concept of race, from the race typology of the 1920s and ’30s to the post-World War II concern with race, to the impact of apartheid and its demise. The book explores the scientific racism that often placed people in a hierarchy of race and treated them as objects to be measured.

    In 1987, the publication of “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution” suggested that all living humans could trace their ancestry back to an African woman 200,000 years ago. Again, many scientists and the general public in the West were slow to accept such a claim.

    Event Details

    Book Details


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