May 19, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Secrets of the Savanna

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Delia Owens, Mark Owens
publisher
Houghton Mifflin
genre
Nonfiction
We gave it a B+

For many of us, the scariest wild animals we’ll ever meet are pigeons and squirrels. The husband-and-wife authors, who spent a decade in Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park trying to restore elephant herds decimated by poachers, regularly encountered baboons, hippos, crocodiles, and lions sniffing around their tents at night. Most dangerous of all were the corrupt officials who eventually forced Mark and Delia Owens to leave Africa, imperiling an innovative project that had successfully weaned locals from poaching to a more self-sufficient life. Unlike most current nature stories, the straightforward, often-poignant Secrets of the Savanna has a hopeful ending: Years after the couple’s exile, elephants and people continue to thrive.

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