Horn of Darkness
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Horn of Darkness : Rhinos on the Edge

3.78 (19 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The worlds rhinoceroses face extinction because a part of their anatomy is valued too much. Poachers hunt and slaughter them because their horns are treasured. Once an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed from the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope but now less than 3% remain. In all of Africa, there is but a single infenced population numbering more than 100 individuals, in the inhospitable barrens of the Namib Desert. The hunger for money has resulted in the deaths of more than 160 Zimbabwean poachers as they tried to kill fro the valuable horns, Few options remain to stop the deadly harvest, Although guarded sanctuaries may now be working in Kenya, elsewhere foot patrols, helicopters, and high tech solutions have been tried and most have failed. In 1989 a radical strategy has developed - cutting the horns, The rationale is simple. If a rhino has no horns, the incentive to kill it should disappear. What has since unfolded is a biological and political drama, Carol Cunningham and Joel Berger describe their passionate quest to help conserve Africa's black rhinos. Arriving with their 19 month old daughter in the fiercely independent country of Namibia, they undertook a fascinating study to understand how horns are involved in the social lives of this charismatic species. This book blends natural history and biology, adventure and adrenaline. Africans and local attitudes. It moves beyond the typical nature study by bringing in real world components of conservation - the delicate mix of western science, politics and economics, and personal despair and hope.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 162.6 x 238.3 x 22.9mm | 681.78g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 16 pp halftones
  • 0195111133
  • 9780195111132

About Carol Cunningham

Carol Cunningham works in the Department of Environmental and Resource Studies at the University of Nevada. Joel Berger works in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada.show more

Back cover copy

The black rhino is nature's tank, feared by all animals, even lions. And yet the black rhino is on the edge of extinction, its numbers dwindling from 100,000 at the turn of the century, to less than 2,500 today. The reason is that in places like Yemen, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, the rhino's horn is more treasured than gold, so valuable that people will risk their lives to harvest it. To deter rhino poachers, African governments have spent millions - on helicopters, paramilitary operations, fences, and guard dogs, even relocation to protected areas. Finally, three African countries tried a radical strategy - cutting the horns. The rationale is simple. If a rhino has no horns, the incentive to kill it should disappear. What has since unfolded is a biological and political drama. In Horn of Darkness, Carol Cunningham and Joel Berger describe their passionate quest to help conserve Africa's black rhinos. Arriving in fiercely independent Namibia, the authors begin to study how horns are involved in the lives of rhinos. Writing alternate chapters, Carol and Joel tell the story of three years in the remote Namib Desert and capture what it is like to experience life in the remaining wilds of Africa. Horn of Darkness blends natural history and biology, adventure and adrenaline, Africans and local attitudes. It also reveals a clear sense of the careful, patient work involved in studying animals, the frustration of long days searching for them, and the realities of coping with extreme temperatures and a nomadic lifestyle.show more

Review quote

' This book is every bit as good as 'Out of Africa' but alot more good ecology in it' Bulletin of the British Ecological Society '... an entertaining tale of adventures on safari, plus the frustrations of being wildlife scientists, this book is for you ' The Times Higher Education Supplement This book blends natural history, biology and adventure, giving an insight into Africans and local attitudes. It moves beyond the typical nature study by bringing in real world components of conservations, the delicate mix of western science, politics and economics. * Ethology, Ecology & Evolution 10:1998 * The determined, gutsy couple spent 197 nights with rhinos, with 1,030 hours of observation of about 100 known individuals - a truly tremendous achievement, for which they deserve huge credit. Their book is full of variety. * Brian Bertram, Nature, Vol. 388, 1997 * I take my hat off to the effort and energy the authors devoted to studying the rare black rhino in its last African stronghold in Namibia. It is an eloquent and revealing insight into the current life and times of field biologists in sub-Saharan Africa and does give the reader a feel for how difficult it is to collect data on a species with a reputation for bad temper. I would recommend it to anyone who dreams of studying wildlife in Africa. * Iain Gordon, Biologist (1998) 45 (1) * Vivid account of the struggle to stop the harvest of rhino horns. * BBC Wildlife *show more

Rating details

19 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 21% (4)
4 37% (7)
3 42% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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