Anyone who goes on safari will want to make room in his or her suitcase for this treasure. Estes, who is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute as a research associate, spent over eight years doing fieldwork in Africa and over 17 years leading safaris. His admirable qualifications as an expert on the social ecology of African mammals are reflected in the text, which describes approximately 86 species of African mammals. Introductory chapters give practical advice on how to observe animals, including tips on using binoculars and photographic equipment. Other chapters are arranged by standard taxonomic classification. Estes first covers the characteristics of families and subfamilies and then goes into even more detail on the individual species, charting behaviors one can expect to see and the usual context or meaning. Icons illustrating the behaviors effectively take the reader to a description of the behavior being observed. Appended to the text are a brief suggested reading list, addresses of major wildlife organizations, a glossary of terms, and a thorough index. The only "fault" with this exceptionally well-written and researched book is its size. With a 6 9 trim and some 470 pages of text, this is a fairly large, hefty volume to pack on safari--but it is worth the extra effort, as nothing compares with it. Essential for any traveler to Africa, any student of animals or behavior, any zoo visitor, and any size public library.
About the Author
Richard D. Estes has led wildlife-viewing safaris in Africa for many years and is one of the world's foremost experts on the social ecology of African mammals. Dr. Estes is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution Conservation and Research Center, an Associate at the Harvard Museums of Natural History, and a Trustee of The Rare Species Conservatory Foundation. He lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire.