This wonderful field guide features more than 400 full-color photographs and maps showing where on the African continent these 200 larger mammal species live.
The book is organized according to the zoological orders: Primates, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, Proboscidea, Carnivora, Hyracoidea, Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Insectivora, Lagomorpha, and Rodentia. The entries are followed by a bibliography, a glossary, photographic credits, indices to scientific names, German common names, French common names, and English common names. The introduction includes a summary with a map of the principal vegetation zones of Africa, and a political map of Africa shows where the national parks are (126 are listed). A section on how to use this field guide precedes an introduction to the various family orders of the mammals this book covers.
The guide provides two to three pages of information and colorful pictures on each species of larger mammals. There are at least two pictures of the animal; sometimes there are four or more images. The material on chimpanzees provides an example of the information Chris and Tilde Stuart proved. The animal’s common name is given, then its scientific name. Some symbols, explained in the introduction, are used. The length of the animal is given as are identification pointers. In the margin, a small map shows where the animal lives, and the animal’s paw, hoof, or footprint is displayed. A short description of the animal is followed by a description (distribution) of the area the species inhabits. The Stuarts also note the status of each species; in the chimpanzee’s case, fewer than 200,000 live in the wild, and its habitat is threatened. The Stuarts describe the animal’s habitat and its behavior, what it eats, and reproduction information. In some entries, drawings depict the stages of the animal’s growth.
The field guide was originally published in 1997, and the only thing that was changed in this January 2007 edition is its cover. This book will be enjoyed by children and adults. Students, teachers, and professors will appreciate this book for the quick information provided, but they will enjoy it in an enhanced aesthetic sense for the wonderful color photography throughout, making this volume highly recommended. This book is published in South Africa, so instances of British English – “colour” rather than “color” – abound but do not provide a major impediment to comprehension.
Chris and Tilde Stuart are the founders of the African Carnivore Research Programme and the African-Arabian Wildlife Research Centre. They have authored several books including Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa (1989), Field Guide to the Tracks and Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife (1994), Africa’s Vanishing Wildlife (1996), and other books and journal articles. Many of their books have been re-published in paperback or updated recently. Tilde Stuart has a doctorate in medicine from the University of Innsbruck, and his wife, Chris, has a M.Sc from the University of Natal. Tilde is involved in international groups concerned with animals of various kinds. Many of the photographs that make this such an outstanding work were taken by the authors, and those not taken by them are listed in the photo credits.