Audubon Magazine

Audubon Magazine

Alisa Opar
Published: 12/13/2012

In Love, Life, and Elephants, her touching new memoir, Daphne Sheldrick gracefully chronicles decades of living with and working to conserve the creatures of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. While in her mid-twenties, she falls for (and eventually marries) the park’s wildlife warden. Together the two also fall for creatures facing hard fates. Most of all, Sheldrick adores Tsavo's elephants—a species whose population in Kenya plummeted in a mere 16 years from 167,000 to 16,000 due to the ivory trade.—Michele Berger


How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling Through South America

By Peter Allison

Lyons Press, 200 pages, $16.95 (Buy it)

Peter Allison recounts his 18-month journey across South America, over glaciers and through jungles, in search of another wild cat, the jaguar. This is no Eat, Pray, Love–style memoir. Allison embraces the oft-omitted travel truth that sometimes expectations exceed reality, seeing this as all the more reason to laugh at life’s surprises.—Daisy Yuhas



The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth

By Richard Conniff

W.W. Norton & Company, 464 pages, $26.95 (Buy it)

Award-winning writer Richard Conniff charts a course through an era of intense discovery (nearly 200 years, starting in 1735), honoring the naturalists and scientists who achieved “something like immortality” (Charles Darwin and John James Audubon, for example), as well as the lesser-known (or unfairly credited) ones. In pursuit of new species and theories, they experienced great joys as well as great losses—of fame (to competitors), specimens (in shipwrecks), or life (to disease). In the end these adventurers helped shape the course of history, changing the way we understand species, their origins, and how humans fit into the picture.—Julie Leibach



The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives

By Diana Reiss

Houghton Miffl in Harcourt, 288 pages, $27 (Buy it)

Reiss’s research with mirrors has demonstrated that dolphins, like great apes, have the capacity for self-recognition and, potentially, empathy. This book brings readers into her laboratory. She walks through her work from its begnings, sharing unforgettable moments like a dolphin's sly deception or beautiful bubble play. What Reiss reveals about dolphins and humans is often brilliant, at times brutal,

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