BOOK REVIEW: CAPTURING WILDLIFE MOMENTS IN INDIA

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TITLE : Capturing Wildlife Moments In India

AUTHOR : Ashok Mahindra

PUBLISHER : Oxford University Press & Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)

GENRE: Non- Fiction

ISBN: 0-19-946050-7

THE BOOK

cwm - Copy

Dedicated to young adults by the author, in the hope that they, and through them their children will understand the importance of preserving our forests, rain forests, mangroves, woodlands, wetlands, swampy marshes and mudflats for posterity, ‘Capturing Wildlife Moments In India’ is a remarkable attempt to introduce the reader to the rich fauna and flora surrounding us. It is an attempt to bring the diverse and vibrant wildlife of India, to the masses through 120 photographic illustrations and short snippets covering wide range of birds and animals that have made India their home. These photographs clicked by the author during the course of his visits to over 30 parks,sanctuaries and other locations in India are eye-catching. The foreword by Mr. Asad R Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society and the ‘Thirteen Ways Forward’ by the author himself are worth pondering upon.

Other points worth noting about the book are-

PHOTOGRAPHS

A collection of

  • Superb 120 photographs clicked during the course of the Author’s travels across the length and breadth of the country are testimony to the author’s experience and acumen. They introduce us to not only the commonly known and recognized species of the animal kingdom but to also some lesser known ones, ones the ordinary citizen may never ever have come across.
  • Each photograph is a fine example of the author’s determination and dedication. To cite an example- clicking the leopard was no easy task for him. It took him 100+ safaris to finally sight this most elusive animal. However in the end his determination was rewarded and the proof is there before us in Page 12 of the book.

CONTENT

  • Brief but informative.
  • Addresses the concerns of the impact of rapid afforestation on wildlife and their habitat and ecology in general. It is a step forward to creating awareness among people of all ages to the threat faced by all forms of life on earth given man’s greed and penchant for urbanization at the cost of causing an imbalance in the already fragile ecology.
  • The book provides thirteen vital points which need to be adopted urgently to ensure proper preservation of wildlife. These points are indeed relevant and easy to follow if one does truly has the will to adopt them.
  • The book is not a sermon but a subtle attempt to nudge the masses to preserve the flora and fauna around us by bringing live the beauty that the earth has been graced with. It gives us an insight into the behavioral patterns and characteristics of some of the animals mentioned therein. E.g. – 1) The matriarchal system followed by the Asiatic elephants. Here the eldest female of the herd generally takes all major decisions. 2) How the mudskipper an amphibious fish, survives even when out of water for hours, just by breathing the oxygen stored in its skin and mouth. 3) The common kingfisher whacking its catch to death before consuming it so that it does not hurt its throat with its fins. Who says that men are more intelligent than the rest of God’s creation on earth? The pages of the book reveal the intelligence of the various species of animals and birds that reside here. One can’t help admiring them.
  • Then there are some fascinating mentions like- 1) the breeding pattern of the Malabar Pied Hornbills commonly sighted in Dandeli, Karnataka. Amazing how the male imprisons the female in her nest till the chicks hatch. Queer indeed are the ways of nature. 2) The chain of life in Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand where frogs feed on spiders and the snakes on the frogs only to be consumed later by the Crested Serpent Eagle a bird of prey that relishes the taste of snakes and lizards.
  • Some unusual stories like that of Zalim the male Bengal Tiger in the Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan who sired his two cubs after their mother died make interesting read. Unusual for tigers to do so but then aren’t exceptions a way of life?
  • The book is not all about animals, their special characteristics, habits, etc, but also about their preservation. It speaks about protecting their habitat and the plants and trees that provide them with the much needed nourishment in order to survive.
  • There is also some valuable information regarding the steps taken by the Central Government, various State Governments and Government Agencies to preserve some of the endangered species and ensure their rapid growth in numbers.
  • A bit of legend here and there as well as tiger tales is sure to interest the reader.
  • The IUCN Classification and status of species, details of Wildlife Hotspots & UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites, information regarding interesting places to stay and details regarding camera and technique employed by the author to capture the wild in his camera lens as well as those ideal to click them perfectly, add value to the book.

THE VERDICT:

A book that not only documents threatened landscapes and species but much more, ‘Capturing wildlife moments in India’ is truly a Collector’s delight. It caters to people of all ages. While the photographs are capable of captivating even a kid, the pieces of information provided throughout the book and the concerns expressed by the author are enough to set the sensitive of all ages to think and act. Though meant to be just a coffee table book this one has the potential of becoming an interesting encyclopedia of sorts if only the author adds a little more information on the species, details of their habitat, food habits, other habits specific to them, etc.

I give this book 4 on a scale of 5.

WRAPPING UP

THE MAN BEHIND THE BOOK

A wildlife photographer, Ashok Mahindra is a Chartered Accountant by profession. Educated at the Doon School in Dehradun, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and St. John’s College, Oxford, Mr. Ashok Mahindra retired as Co-Chairman of Deloitte, Haskins & Sells and Senior Partner of Ferguson & Co. in 2008. He is a former Treasurer Trustee and Vice President of WWF-India.

Visit him @:-   http://www.wildlifephotographybyakm.com

Want to contact him? Email him @ :- akm.mahindra@gmail.com

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“This post is a part of the book review program of at Saevus Wildlife India in association with The Hemchand Mahindra Foundation for the book Capturing Wildlife Moments in India”

The book will be available at most of the major retail outlets across India and also through online retail sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc.It will also be available for sale through the BNHS website and is priced at Rs.1450/-

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Do let me know you’ve been here. Leave your views/ suggestions in the comment box below.

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