TIGER MOON by Fiona & Mel Sunquist Sunquist


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In the mid-1970's, wildlife ecologist Mel Sunquist and his writer/photographer wife, Fiona, headed into Nepal's Royal Chitwan National Park to conduct a field study of the highly endangered tiger. In this, their colorful and lively account of their two years in Nepal, they tell of riding on elephant back to capture, anesthetize, and place radio collars on their tiger subjects, and of the long days and nights in the field tracking individual frequencies to decipher the habits of these elusive, nocturnal cats. In language that touches on the poetic, the Sunquists describe radio-tracking female tigers as they make a kill, and male tigers as they mark their territories and mate. There are dramatic accounts of tiger attacks and close calls with rhinos. And there are treks through nearly impenetrable tall grasses and swirling rivers to observe and photograph tigers, leopards (which are actually part of this study), and other wildlife. Carefully explained throughout is the plight of the endangered tiger--the deleterious impact of human overpopulation and the resultant widespread loss of habitat from farming, overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion. But the Sunquists also write of their evolving comprehension of the lives of the reserve's human neighbors, and the need to protect the local peoples' customs and means of livelihood. An eminently readable account, which even ends on an optimistic note.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1988
Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press