WITH MY SOUL AMONGST LIONS by Gareth Patterson

WITH MY SOUL AMONGST LIONS

A Moving Story of the Struggle to Protect the Last Adamson Lions
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In this raw-edged sequel to his Last of the Free (1995), Patterson updates readers on the fate of his lion cohorts in the southern African bushlands. When last heard from, Patterson was deep in the Botswanan wilds at his camp on the Tuli Lion Trust, there to return to nature three lions (of the Born Free troupe) he had brought down from Kenya. As readers again cross his path, Patterson recounts how one of his charges has recently fallen to illegal ``sports,'' lured off protected ground and shot under the least sporting of conditions. Patterson's sadness and frustration are exacerbated by the owners of the trustlands, who feel that his writings on the lions' plight may subject their holdings to nationalization by the Botswanan government. On the owners' heels come the poachers and the farmers who kill lions for culling their herds. From an unexpected quarter, his work is broadsided by a clutch of scientists who, chanting the purity-of-race mantra, disapprove of the interbreeding of Kenyan and Botswanan prides. Marshalling on, Patterson charts the progress of the lions, lays bare his private life, gives readers an earful of his encounters with spitting cobras and neurotoxic scorpions sharing his special patch of earth, laces the narrative with suggestions on how to cushion the meeting of human and beast: deterrent fencing, the environmental education of local youth, beefed-up patrols. The book closes with one of the remaining lions accused of killing a man. She is shot, along with her cubs. Patterson is appalled and builds a strong case that illegal ivory traders were the culprits. Patterson may overplay his grizzled gruffness and suffer on occasion from spiritual bloat, but he's the real potato when it comes to the Tuli lions. Spurning his advice would only be folly. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14768-6
Page count: 228pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996