Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, Aminals

I thought in my next life I'd like to be a butterfly...now, I've decided I want to be a bonobo.


Nature documentaries often depict animal life as a grim struggle for survival, but this visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom.

In more than one hundred thirty striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. These photographs, windows onto the inner lives of pleasure seekers, show two polar bears engaged in a bout of wrestling, hoary marmots taking time for a friendly chase, Japanese macaques enjoying a soak in a hot spring, a young bull elk sticking out his tongue to catch snowflakes, and many other rewarding moments. Biologist and best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe is our guide, interpreting the images within the scientific context of what is known about animal behavior.

In the end, old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.


It is exactly like Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid...” Written by National Geographic magazine writer Jennifer Holland, Unlikely Friendships documents one heartwarming tale after another of animals who, with nothing else in common, bond in the most unexpected ways. A cat and a bird. A mare and a fawn. An elephant and a sheep. A snake and a hamster. The well-documented stories of Koko the gorilla and All Ball the kitten; and the hippo Owen and the tortoise Mzee. And almost inexplicable stories of predators befriending prey—an Indian leopard slips into a village every night to sleep with a calf. A lionness mothers a baby oryx. Ms. Holland narrates the details and arc of each story, and also offers insights into why—how the young leopard, probably motherless, sought maternal comfort with the calf, and how a baby oryx inspired the same mothering instinct in the lionness. Or, in the story of Kizzy, a nervous retired Greyhound, and Murphy, a red tabby, how cats and dogs actually understand each other’s body language. With Murphy’s friendship and support, Kizzy recovered from life as a racing dog and became a confident, loyal family pet.

These are the most amazing friendships between species, collected from around the world and documented in a selection of full-color candid photographs.

2 comments:

DeepBlue said...

That sounds great. Thanks for pointing this out. I'm adding it to my list...

Writer said...

You should, Jon. I rate these books high on smile and "aaaaawwwww" moments. :)