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A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park

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A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park" By Edward O. Wilson

SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. A window on eternity : a biologist's walk through Gorongosa National Park. Responsibility Edward O. Wilson ; photographs by Piotr Naskrecki. Digital video file; DVD video. Online Available online. Full view. Science Library Li and Ma. Stacks Library has: 1 v. More options. And even if you're into propagating your DNA, Wilson's idea is not all that far fetched.

When it comes to genes and DNA, scientists are finding that humans have more in common with other species than we had ever imagined. The DNA from a lion or a fly or even a bacterium carries with it some of the same coding that is contained in our DNA. If we're looking for eternity, look to nature. The Gorongosa National Park, as we now know it, was set aside in as the Gorongosa Hunting Reserve by a private business called the Mozambique Company. The region was officially designated a national park in In the s, shortly after Mozambique got its independence, surveys revealed that the park was a treasure of biodiversity with huge populations of lions, elephants and hippos.

The 16 years of civil war that followed, marked by largely unrestricted poaching that lasted even longer, led to a hollowed-out park left almost completely devoid of the large mammals that had graced it. Gone was the once-magnificent natural treasure, and the place came to be known as "Africa's Lost Eden. In the Carr Foundation partnered with the government of Mozambique to bring Gorongosa back from the brink. Among the characters we meet is Greg Carr , the American businessman and philanthropist to whom the book is dedicated and who is probably more responsible than anyone else for the park's renaissance.

We visit with elephants and "elephant whisperer" Joyce Poole. Ever the entomologist, Wilson features insects in a central role in the park's story. He writes that they are the. They live more harried lives in a very different scale of space and time than you and I. Wilson relates an especially riveting story of how he and his party stumble upon an ant migration with dense columns of Matebele ants crossing a road -- carrying "grublike larvae and cocoons containing pupae. In a sense insects are the heroes of Wilson's Gorongosa story. His own surveys lead him to conclude that while the park's large mammals were slaughtered during the decades of neglect, much of the insect world remained intact.

And it was the ecological foundation provided by the insects that made the return of the large mammals possible. Wilson's guided tour of Gorongosa is entertaining and full of insight and discovery. But the real joy for me are the book's many detours and side excursions -- stories about his childhood, the fascinating minutiae about the park's and the planet's flora and fauna. For example, who would have thought that the world's greatest entomologist would have a fear of spiders? In the course of his discourse about Gorongosa we learn he has a phobia borne of a close encounter with an orb-weaving spider at age 8.

Healing the scars of war: the women rebuilding Mozambique's national park

But for countless small animals a scat is a treasure, a source of life. The killing of animals for food wiped out most of the animals over 10 kg. The Matabele ants and the driver ants are covered, showing how each raids the termite colonies. Interesting piece on how to "hypnotize" a dragonfly. Come close, bring hand to chest, wriggle fingers at a moderate rate, gradually move hand to dragonfly and slowly push your finger below it's legs - the fingers are imitating the movement of leaves in a breeze.

The grim reapers of bio-diversity are HIPPO - habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, continued human population growth and over-harvesting. Jun 04, Tawney rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , science , first-reads , africa. It is a picture of this piece of Mozambique as it is today, with a brief description of the political events leading to it's present state.

This area of the Great Rift Valley endured nearly two decades of a civil war and it's aftermath which decimated the populations of large animals. Since then there has been a serious effort to restore their numbers, restore rainforest atop Gorongosa itself, engage the local population in these efforts. Wilson uses this history to examine biodiversity, it's meaning and importance. He begins with humans and their ancestors and then the larger animals, showing how their near absence affects the ecologies of the park.

An Unexplored Island in Mozambique

And then, of course, there are the invertebrates - the clash of civilizations between ants and termites, the life cycle of a termite colony, diversification to find a niche that avoids competition. Yes, it is elementary, but Wilson tells interesting stories and presents questions that require some thought, especially concerning the world we want to leave for the future. Some might find E. Wilson's style shambling.

I enjoy his writing the same way I would a visit from a relative or family friend. Your don't get the whole story in one visit, but it sets you on the road to find out more. Piotr Naskrecki's photographs include some spectacular examples of the diversity within the insect world and also give a visual picture of the park. Jessica Tu's video gives a glimpse of the human side.

Jun 04, Stacy rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , first-reads. No matter if you are young or old, these alluring photos, taken in a place mostly untouched and unseen by humanity, have the effect of pulling you right in. Each image shares the richness, beauty and magic of Gorongosa National Park.

You are offered a few stunning landscapes, but most of the shots are an appeal for life. By sharing these African species large and small with most of us who have never seen them in the wild, it pleads for us to pay attention to this unique, natural world.

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The opening paragraph lets you know we are going to dig deep. It takes us back to our roots. With a very precise and conscious scientific writing style, we look at this place where we all came from the lens of human evolution, and ecological conservation. Through sixteen years of civil war in Mozambique, and the near destruction of all the large animals in this park, a full restoration process was put in place. This book is a tribute to this incredible accomplishment and rebirth of a National Park.

It gave me goosebumps! May 17, Nate rated it it was ok Shelves: , do-not-own , non-fiction , animals , science. This book was seemingly authored as a side project, or maybe as an ancillary idea, to the research that Wilson and his colleagues were doing in Africa. The intent of bringing more attention to the Gorongosa National Park seems to be noble, but unfortunately for the reader, this intent was not written under the setting of being a primary objective, and therefore, suffers from an extreme lack of structure that lacks fluidity throughout.

Light historical information on the region, obscure in-depth This book was seemingly authored as a side project, or maybe as an ancillary idea, to the research that Wilson and his colleagues were doing in Africa.


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Light historical information on the region, obscure in-depth analysis of various insects, anecdotal remarks on animal behavior, small and random facts about the ecosystem, a few diary entries-if the goal was to create a scrapbook of their research trip, then this was a success, otherwise, this falls quite short of any literary goal.

The author's passion for the subject and this region are impressive, and the pictures are beautiful, but that does not translate into a well constructed work of non-fiction. That's not to say it was atrocious; it most certainly was not, and it did not turn me away from the subject, but when closing a book if the phrase "not atrocious" comes to mind, then it was probably at least disappointing, and this was. I'd recommend renting this includes a DVD I haven't watched yet or purchasing it as a coffee table book.

Apr 26, Barbm rated it it was amazing. Wilson was past the age of 80 when he visited Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, where colonization, abandonment, destruction of infrastructure and invasion by foreign mercenaries had nearly destroyed the people's livelihood and left them with no means for higher education and professional training. He was able to get the children in the area started at doing science by collecting small animals for examination and identification, and advised a young man from the nearby village to c Edward O.


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He was able to get the children in the area started at doing science by collecting small animals for examination and identification, and advised a young man from the nearby village to continue his education with the help of a scholarship from the Park and become a biologist. The story is heartbreaking at first because of all that the people there have suffered, but ends on a positive note. The photographs in the book are good and the accompanying video is excellent. Apr 11, Jennifer Kay rated it liked it. From my review for The Associated Press: " According to Wilson, some of the elephants that survived the worst years in the park remember the war and remain easily spooked by the sight of humans and vehicles.

He mourns for the park they lost — and the data it could have contained — but he finds hope for their rehabilitation in the work of insects that mostly go unnoticed by park visitors. Wilson specializes in ants, and his explanations about the importance of insect relationships and biodivers From my review for The Associated Press: " Wilson specializes in ants, and his explanations about the importance of insect relationships and biodiversity in Gorongosa are charming and accessible — no jargon, just joy.

Jun 17, Matthew Stolte rated it it was amazing. Great book. I thought this book was about ants thanks Colbert. But it's about many things page after page despite the many great photographs. As with Economics, it's the People doing the Work that get things done.

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Follow the findings of this read to proceed with the "Economy". Quick read, as many, Great book. Quick read, as many, but even quicker due to photos. May 20, Cynthia rated it liked it. Gorongosa seems like an enchanting region of the world, and am happy to know that the park is being restored to its former, pre war balance.

The forward pulled me into the book, but I found the writing simplistic at times. The last chapter discusses an interesting solution to species protection; wildlife corridors. While not a new concept to me, it seems like an idea whose time has come. And none too soon. The photography is an excellent addition! I won an arc of this book through goodreads. May 31, David Rowinski rated it it was amazing.

I received an ARC of this book. This was a very quick,enjoyable read. Wilson hits on a number of topics with chapters that are essays covering history, spiders, ants, elephants. Beautiful photographs are well integrated with the text. I have already mentioned the segment on 'hypnotizing' dragonflies to several people. When much of the news coming out of Africa focuses on the problems this book reminds us, with the restoration of Gorongosa, of what is not only possible but actually happening. Sep 09, Connie Kronlokken added it.

Wilson rejects the idea that we should treat the living world as a magnificent garden, that humans and the surviving remainder of wild plants and animals live together harmoniously. Dec 17, John rated it really liked it Shelves: science , non-fiction , travel , photography. I love national parks and I enjoy learning about other parts of the world so I enjoyed this quick read. A chapter or two near the beginning and end were perhaps more pedantic than I cared for, but the middle section of the book was more of a narrative description of Wilson's time in Gorongosa and more interesting.

Dec 03, Don Kent rated it it was amazing.

smeltd.co.uk/12532.php This is an extraordinary book. The last two chapters are a must read for those who seek a clear statement of the environmental challenges the world faces today. In contrast to other works I have attempted by this author this is a clear and easy read. Jun 29, Caro rated it liked it.

I've always wanted to read Edward O. Wilson, and this book shows that he has a readable style. As other readers have noted, this is not quite a travel book and not quite a science book, just a bit of both. The included DVD offers some glimpses of the terrain and wildlife he writes about. Oct 24, Deb Holden rated it really liked it. The pictures alone are worth seeing. The author is 84 years old at the time of writing.