THE ZOO THAT NEVER WAS by R. D. Lawrence

THE ZOO THAT NEVER WAS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A worthy successor to Paddy, The North Runner, and Secret Go the Wolves. Many of the reminiscences, this time, center around Snuffles, an orphaned black bear cub who is nourished from starvation to health--with equal doses of Pablum and affection--by Lawrence and his wife Joan. The cub has to be taught everything about survival--even how to hibernate; this calls for Lawrence to spend one very uncomfortable night in the bear's (manmade) den, to make sure he gets the idea. Other denizens of the Lawrence's 350-acre Ontario woodlands include his malamute, Tundra; Penny the skunk; a hawk named Maggot; a flying squirrel who comes in for landings on Lawrence's shoulders; and Spike, a porcupine delivered by Caesarean section. Lawrence, a trained biologist, takes solo winter treks into the forest each year to study how different animals adapt to sub-zero temperatures. There he puts into practice his philosophy that man is a guest, and animals are the host, in the wilderness. Using the slow, fearless ""wilderness pace,"" Lawrence manages to track the movements of a wolf pack (and be studied by them as well), to observe bears and deer in their natural states, to make contact with old acquaintances: Snout, a bull moose raised by Lawrence, who still comes to his whistle; and Snuffles, now two-and-a-half, who has gone out ""to make his own living."" With acute observations on both the biological-dissection mind-set and the hunting mentality, a rich melding of experience and reflection.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston