417 pages, 16 plates with colour photos; b/w illustrations, tables
What started as a vision for the Olifants River Game Reserve has become the story of a game ranger's life. With a naturalist's eye for detail as well as the bigger picture of managing a fragile ecosystem through years of drought and plenty, Mario Cesare brings a storyteller's delight – and a dash of Italian passion – to sharing his world.
Life-and-death encounters with lion, elephant and buffalo are balanced by rescues and interventions as these giants of the lowveld suffer the effects of human interference in their ecosystem. There are problems with poachers and with rapacious neighbours; then the delights of success – and in the case of the elephant population, the conundrums of too much success. Mario Cesare's career has taken him from Timbavati and Mala Mala to Olifants River and beyond – and he delights in sharing his good fortune. His latest task: to develop and nurture the Olifants River Game Reserve as the fences of the Greater Kruger National Park area fall, undoing generations of damage.
Man-eaters, Mambas and Marula Madness provides a wealth of lessons on conservation as well as stories of life in the bush as it is enjoyed only by those fortunate enough to live on a 'Big Five' reserve.
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