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The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  351 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Expelled from Botswana for writing Cry of the Kalahari, the Owenses set off across Africa. They settled in Zambia, where they soon found their peace shattered by the gunfire of elephant poachers. This is the story of the couple's battle to save the elephants and their own lives.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 29th 1993 by Mariner Books (first published December 31st 1992)
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I really wanted to love this book. I tried. The information and the story of what these two conservationists have done is amazing, however the overly flowery descriptions and romanticized views of Africa almost drowned out the reason for the book. In North Lunagwa National Park in Zambia the elephants were poached almost out of existence. To make matters worse, the game rangers and politicians were corrupt and in on it! These were very important changes that these two wonderful people made to th ...more
This book picks up the story when the Owens' return to Africa after pursuing graduate degrees following their experiences recounted in "Cry of the Kalahari". They attempt to return to the area in Botswana where they'd worked before but find themselves expelled by the government. (The expulsion was later reversed.) They began looking for another area in which to work and ultimately settled on North Luangwa Valley. From the air it appeared to be a Biologist's heaven in terms of wildlife. The real ...more

This and "Cry of the Kalahari" are not dry, scientific books. I feared they were and didn't read them for almost a decade. But these co-authored books are the furthest things from biologists dating themselves. Well, the two people who wrote them are actually married. And so they actually kind of were dating. Except they didn't have to talk about being exclusive or going to prom or sneaking into their parents' basement to make out or try for second base or anything like that.

Anyway, "The Eye of t
Katie/Doing Dewey
This morning, I finished reading The Eye of the Elephant, one of the extra books I picked up in the 639′s. Although I occasionally think about the fact that I could be doing this until I die if I pick up multiple books for every number, I don’t think that would be so bad, especially if my digressions always lead to such great books! As the subtitle says, this was truly “An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness.” This story of Mark and Delia Owens’ efforts to save the elephants and other wildl ...more
The authors previously observed lions and other animals in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, but were asked to leave the country because of their outspoken and controversial ideas about conservation. Their search for a new place to work and study brought them to Zambia's North Luangwa National Park, an area the size of the state of Delaware, which was being heavily poached. This account of their work, with its successes and many frustrations, is at once a good armchair travelogue, an adventure ya ...more
Kimberly Fleming
Amazing true story of a couple brought to Zambia to study lions, but instead led a war against elephant poaching in North Luangwa valley. At times this book is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to read, at other times, incredibly inspiring. I thought the first half was slightly better than the second. By the end of the book the story revolves mostly around their anti-poaching efforts and personal battles, and less focus on the animals and nature. I thought their first book "Cry of the Kalahar ...more
Wonderful book. Mark and Delia take us to Africa and make us feel what it's like for adventurers/environmentalists like them to live on a daily basis with a passion that is ultimately harmful to themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Their accomplishments, however, probably contributed to the present-day conservation movements in African nations, and without people like them, the old Africa and its beautiful animals would be already extinct.
Not quite as moving as Cry of the Kalahari, due to the fact that much more of the action concerns human drama than actual research and discovery. However, it is a compelling portrait of the plight of elephants in Africa during the peak of ivory poaching. The determined borderline maniacal fight of the authors to protect and save the natural wonders of their study area is an inspiration.
Erica Rieder
I have to give this book three stars since it was a very exciting story, and a decent historical account of the mass Elephant slaughter in Zambia. But then I learned how crazy the Owens really are... and it took the fun out of the book for me. I no longer trust most of their stories.
Maya Houston
Mark and Delia Owens allow the reader to understand the brutality of elephant poaching and seeming futility or anti-poaching endeavors. Thank goodness for people like them.
Scientists with the souls of poets who can write well. Who love what they are doing. Love the land and its animal inhabitants. What more can you ask for?
Aug 22, 2009 Connie is currently reading it
Followup story to Cry of the Kalahari (see my review) by this same adventuresome, driven couple. New locale and focus to their work.
After being banned from Botswana, Mark and Delia Owens continued their conservation work in Zambia. They are very brave.
I lived as Mark & Delia Owens vicariously through this memoir. What I would give to live in Africa!
Amy Brown
Good read about 2 conservationists working to stop the poaching of elephants for their ivory in Zambia.
Sara Rapp
Sep 13, 2012 Sara Rapp rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in nature, conservation, animal rights, africa
Awesome and wrenching. The authors set out to accomplish one job and ended up on a mission for another.
Michelle Holland
I finished this book 24 hours ago and I'm still "re-living" it in my mind.
"Very cool. Fighting poachers in a national park in Zambia."
Enjoyed this book, but not as much as Cry of the Kalahari
Great book!
Oliver Rixon
Oliver Rixon marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
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♥ Sandi
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