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Secrets of the Savanna: Twenty-Three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries Ofelephants and People

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  167 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
From the best-selling authors of Cry of the Kalahari, the dramatic story of Mark and Delia Owens's last years in Africa, fighting to save elephants, villages, and, in the end, themselves.
Crossing stick bridges over swollen rivers and battling swarms of tsetse flies, Mark and Delia Owens found their way into one of the most startlingly beautiful, wild places on earth, the
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 17th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published May 24th 2006)
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Jun 04, 2012 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Mark and Delia Owens have spent a lot of time in Zambia, living their life as those people that we are often jealous of who take breathtaking pictures with binoculars and some soft looking animal in the background. Or not soft, but still intriguing, like elephants.

Secrets of the Savanna is about their experience in Africa trying to save the elephants that are being poached on for their tusks. There is a lot more to the story then the elephants, such as the villagers, the politics of the area, a
Feb 04, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Research for my trip to Africa included reading this inspiring memoir written jointly by Mark and Delia Owens. They each have chapters in the book, so you receive a male and female experience of the wilds they lived in for twenty three years. Aside from being a model marriage shouldering burdens and hardships without complaint together, they are both exceptional writers. Especially, Mark who waxes lyrical on more than one occasion describing the remote landscapes and connections with the animals ...more
Chris Bartholomew
Jan 09, 2014 Chris Bartholomew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book. The true story of Mark and Delia Owens and their work in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. Over the course of 20 years they turned back the tide of poaching in the area returning a viable elephant population along with the rise of quite a number of other African species. Using microloans to give the local tribes a better alternative to thrive outside of poaching. Similar to their Cry of the Kalahari which I read years ago.
This was a rather bittersweet book. It was full of some beautiful - and utterly shocking - moments, but also parts that were quite sad and downright horrific. It was, all in all, a good book. I am sort of surprised that the focus was more on the people, and less on the actual animals. It was more of a memoir about this couple than the book on nature that I expected. Still, it had some fascinating moments in it.
May 01, 2016 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Conservationists, animal lovers, tourists
Poaching leads to fewer elephants, a larger number of orphans, and a dissolution of typical elephant society. The authors document how the absence of adult females and matriarchs results in earlier pregnancies for orphaned females. They tell us the story of the orphaned Gift, who becomes a mother too early and whose daughter suffers from her inexperience.

The Owenses also tell stories of their youth as they correspond to elements of the animal kingdom. For example, Mark relates his father’s death
Feb 20, 2014 Dylan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the third book by Mark and Delia Owens. The first two were phenomenal. The first, Cry of the Kalahari, features the couple going into the Botswana desert and setting up camp for years to study the animals, mostly lions. The place is so desolate, not even the native bushmen live there. It's a crazy idea they have, and you love them for it and what they endure. The second book, The Eye of the Elephant, is not nearly as well known, but is their most compelling book. Every single incident, p
May 14, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Mark & Delia Owens published "Cry of the Kalahari" they wanted to return to Africa. Prohibited from returning to Botswana, they went to Zambia where they remained for many years studying the elephants and working to establish programs to stifle the excessive poaching. This book is actually the second of the books on their years in Zambia, "Eye of the Elephant" being the first.
Reading this one before "Eye", I was disappointed. Part of what I enjoyed so much about "Cry" was the account
Sep 18, 2015 AJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really great. I learned a lot about elephants, about Zambia, and about the struggles of animal conservation in Africa. The passion of the two authors is incredible. Their writing style was really interesting, and many times made me feel as if I were in Zambia with them.

I highly recommend reading this book, even if you aren't into Africa or animal conservation. It's about a lot more than that. There are many anecdotes and similarities described between a broken and decimated elephan
Pat Hardy
Mar 29, 2014 Pat Hardy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing commitment to the people and animals in Zambia and their ability to shift in their next careers. Outstanding model of preparing the people you are helping to take over your work.
Feb 08, 2008 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, africa
Non-fiction adventure... interesting book for the wild-animal lover. This is a straightforward and engaging account of a couple's experience in the African savanna, as they try to save endangered elephants and work for wildlife conservation. They have fascinating encounters with lions, baboons and other wild animals, as well as poachers and some government officials profiting from poaching. Fortunately, the couple has enough positive experiences with honest government officials and villagers to ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Kali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book by Delia and Mark Owens focuses more on what the Owens couple is doing for the people of Zambia then the animals in the area. The Owens are focusing on changing the attitudes of the residents of the area so that there is a long lasting cease fire on the areas elephant population. The elephant population in the area is dangerously close to extiction due to illegal ivory poaching. The book sheds light on how the Owens were able to accomplish their goal, as well as the forces that wish to ...more
Sep 05, 2007 mandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't get enough of these niche history/science books! But this one was not quite exciting as Secre Life of Lobsters. The Owens tell the story of their time spent working in the Luwanga Reserve where they create program that put poachers to work in order to save the bush animals. Interesting - and though I love elephants and the mysteries surrounding them and their current situation as they face more violent encounters with humans - I didn't love this book.
Mrs.Chris Wilson
May 04, 2013 Mrs.Chris Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exhilarating read that leaves you hopefully and depressed all at once. It sends you across the ocean and into the heart of Africa where you feel like you're experiencing everything with the authors. Great read!
Jun 19, 2012 Suanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: safari, memoir, africa
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?
Dana King
Aug 15, 2012 Dana King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learning about elephants and Zambia was well worth some melodramatic writing. I found it a little over-sentimental but the stories were great.
Feb 14, 2013 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Nice followup to Eye of the Elephant -- finishes up the story."
Apr 18, 2010 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nov 20, 2010 Marsha marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
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