What kind of textbook do you need for a field-based course in wildlife management and conservation, based in East Africa? I have three required “textbooks,” and guess what? They are all wildlife field guides! They recently arrived from amazon, and their arrival has made me begin to realize how soon my departure is! Without further ado, the books:
1. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates by Richard D. Estes (2012)
“The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is as different from a conventional field guide as motion pictures are from a snapshot. Whether we are able to look at them face to face, on television, or in the hundreds of illustrations provided here by Daniel Otte, this guide allows us to understand what animals do and what their behavior means. Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork and on the research of many other scientists, Richard Despard Estes describes and explains the behavior of four major groups of mammals. Estes’s remarkably informative guide is as up-to-date for the zoologist as it is accessible for the interested onlooker.”
2. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by Jonathan Kingdon (2003)
“All the known species of African land mammal are covered in a concise text providing full information on identification, distribution, ecology, evolutionary relationships and conservation status. The focus is always on the mammals as seen in the field and on their ecology and evolutionary interrelationships… Listing all 1150 species and with over 480 colour pictures and 280 maps covering some 460 mammal species groups, this book will be an essential companion to all visiting Africa or with an interest in the mammals of the continent.”
-From the back cover
3. Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Dale A. Zimmerman et al. (1999)
“The guide features 124 color plates, depicting all 1,114 species in the area, including variations by subspecies, age, and sex. It contains over 800 range maps and succinct text that covers identification, voice, and distribution. Specially designed for use in the field, it is a compact version of the widely acclaimed Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, hailed on its publication in 1996 as the most comprehensive, accurate, and beautiful guide ever produced for the region. With its modest price, small trim size and sturdy, weather-resistant binding, this field guide is the one volume that every adventurous traveler to Kenya and northern Tanzania must have.”
A month from today, I will be settling in to the Moyo Hill Camp near Lake Manyara, meeting my classmates, and starting my first lessons in Swahili, environmental policy, and wildlife management. With these books in hand, observing the African wildlife from the seat of a land rover, I will learn how to identify and cherish these beautiful animals and begin to understand how to face the threats they are facing in this modern world.
Until next time!