Perhaps no creature has so fired the imagination of a populace as the armadillo—that most ungainly, awkward, and timid little animal. Its detractors call it a varmint and wish it good speed from the Lone Star State and its other natural territories. But its supporters claim that it is the animal kingdom's representative of all that's truly Texan: tough, pioneering, adaptable, and generous in sharing its habitation with others. What is it that sets this quizzical little creature apart from the rest of the animal kingdom?
Larry L. Smith and Robin W. Doughty ably answer this question in The Amazing Armadillo: Geography of a Folk Critter. This informative book traces the spread of the nine-banded armadillo from its first notice in South Texas late in the 1840s to its current range east to Florida and north to Missouri. The authors look at the armadillo's natural history and habitat as well as the role of humans in promoting its spread, projecting that the animal is increasing in both range and number, continuing its ecological success in areas where habitat and climate are favorable.
The book also contributes to a long-standing research theme in geography—the relationship between humans and wildlife. It explores the armadillo's value to the medical community in current research in Hansen's Disease (leprosy) as well as commercial uses, and abuses, of the armadillo in recent times. Of particular note is the author's engaging look at the armadillo as a symbol of popular culture, the efforts now underway to make it a "totem animal" symbolizing the easy-going lifestyles of some Sunbelt cities, and the spread of the craze for armadilliana to other urban centers.
Elephants have fascinated humans for millennia. Aristotle wrote of them with awe; Hannibal used them in warfare; and John Donne called the elephant “Nature’s greatest masterpiece. . . . The only harmless great thing.” Their ivory has been sought after and treasured in most cultures, and they have delighted zoo and circus audiences worldwide for centuries. But it wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century that people started to take an interest in elephants in the wild, and some of the most important studies of these intelligent giants have been conducted at Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
The Amboseli Elephants is the long-awaited summation of what’s been learned from the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP)—the longest continuously running elephant research project in the world. Cynthia J. Moss and Harvey Croze, the founders of the AERP, and Phyllis C. Lee, who has been closely involved with the project since 1982, compile more than three decades of uninterrupted study of over 2,500 individual elephants, from newborn calves to adult bulls to old matriarchs in their 60s. Chapters explore such topics as elephant ecosystems, genetics, communication, social behavior, and reproduction, as well as exciting new developments from the study of elephant minds and cognition. The book closes with a view to the future, making important arguments for the ethical treatment of elephants and suggestions to aid in their conservation.
The most comprehensive account of elephants in their natural environment to date, The Amboseli Elephants will be an invaluable resource for scientists, conservationists, and anyone interested in the lives and loves of these extraordinary creatures.
Since its first publication in 1988, America's Neighborhood Bats has changed the way we look at bats by underscoring their harmless and beneficial nature. In this second revised edition, Merlin Tuttle offers bat aficionados the most up-to-date bat facts, including a wealth of new information on bat house design and current threats to bat survival.
Heavily illustrated with color photographs, Arkansas Mammals is the comprehensive guide to the state’s mammal population. Endangered or threatened species of mammals and missing species known to have been present in recent times are discussed, along with non-native species that have become an important part of the mammal fauna in Arkansas and adjacent states.
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