With the holiday season fast approaching and Christmas approaching faster than a runaway train, it’s not too early to do some preliminary Christmas shopping. Instead of giving your friends and family the latest tech trinket, clothes they don’t need, or the dreaded fruitcake, why not give them a gift of knowledge? For athletes and conservationists, a copy of Mike Arnold’s groundbreaking groundbreaking book, Bringing Back the Lions: International Hunters, Local Tribespeople, and the Miraculous Rescue of a Doomed Ecosystem in Mozambique, will be a treasured gift for years to come.
Written in an entertaining style by one of the world’s leading conservation writers, this compelling book details how, for generations, conservationists around the world have spent billions of dollars and countless hours trying to restore wildlife and the wildlife habitat in decimated areas of sub-Saharan Africa. by many factors, including poachers, corrupt governments, hungry local populations, and a lack of education and experience on how to balance current needs and wants with long-term sustainable goals that benefit both wildlife and local people . And while these efforts often produce short-term results, long-term successes have been few and far between. In Bringing Back the Lions, Arnold, a distinguished research professor of genetics at the University of Georgia, details how a small group of professional hunters spearheaded a nearly 30-year effort to reclaim a once incredible wildlife haven from a decimated and near-barren landscape to one of the world’s major wildernesses: the area of Mozambique known as Coutada 11. This official concession covers 2,000 square kilometers (approximately 772 square miles) of some of the most diverse habitats and animal species in all of Africa. .
“During my time at Coutada 11, I came to understand the essence of what I call the ‘invisible line,’ which demarcates a barren landscape with one full of life,” Arnold said. “I found that it depended on a combination of full stomachs, employment and the empowerment of local villagers; likewise, it depended on protection against marauders who would inadvertently tear apart the environmental web. On one side of the line, without animals, few trees, a lunar landscape; on the other, a solid canopy of trees broken by the occasional natural clearing, containing an overabundance of wildlife. The line reflected the restoration and protection of many ecosystems.
“It is no coincidence that the ‘invisible line’ also separated Sena hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers from a previously unseen category of their brethren: a rural population of middle-class merchants, cash crop farmers, and industry employees. of the safari, an industry that caused the transformation of the ecosystems and the life of the inhabitants of the Seine”, said Arnold. “I had forgotten the truth. In wild Africa, as in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, wild animals are found only where they are more valuable alive than as food. Here, as around the world, the conservation-by-hunting model works when nothing else will. Even photo tourism, with its associated infrastructure of roads and hotels required to transport and house the swarms of tourists, leaves a huge carbon footprint compared to hunting concessions, which host a fraction of the number of visitors.
“With the world population approaching 8 billion, working with local people to conserve wildlife is an urgent need, not an option, especially in Africa,” said Ludo Wurfbain, Director of the Rowland Ward Foundation. “To be successful, conservation projects must benefit local people, increase wildlife and habitat, and maintain fair hunting opportunities. Bringing Back the Lions tells the story of how ecosystem restoration and social and economic advancement for local communities in the Zambezi Delta have gone hand in hand. Combining his personal experiences as a hunter in the region with an in-depth look at the challenges and hard work that have gone into this initiative, Arnold brings this fascinating conservation success story to life.”
“Professor Arnold’s work is a wonderful mix of travelogue, adventure tale, historical novel and environmental odyssey – an uplifting story of ecological and social restoration,” said Ian Sherman of Oxford University Press.
A lifelong hunter who has traveled the world, Arnold has published hundreds of research articles and four books on a variety of topics, including conservation biology. Publications like Science Magazine, The New York Times and National Public Radio continue to call Mike for interviews covering his research. Earlier this year, he attended the 20th annual meeting of the African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Maputo, Mozambique, where he was honored to present a copy of his book to the Honorable Carlos dos Santos, Ambassador of Mozambique to the United States.
Bringing Back the Lions is available at www.Amazon.com, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and other excellent bookstores.