Carnivores include some of the most impressive, dangerous and mysterious animals in the world. Hans Kruuk has spent his life studying them against magnificent backdrops, from the Serengeti savannahs and Kalahari deserts to the Scottish Highlands, from the Galapagos Islands to the Far East. In each location he has used meticulous observation of animal behaviour to understand the ecology and natural history of wild carnivore populations, and ultimately to promote their conservation.
The Call of Carnivores describes the methods, challenges and rewards of the science of behavioural ecology. However, it essentially concerns the personal, rather than the scientific, side of that work, and above all the field experiences involved. With photographs and line drawings, it brings to life African safaris, the hyena in his bath, flights with vultures, dives with otters, attacks by a badger in Scotland and by feral dogs in Galapagos, gull-eating hedgehogs in Britain and the role of animals in African witchcraft. The author communicates his lifelong fascination with wildlife through these unique experiences and the insights they afforded him.
Professor Kruuk is a leading authority on animal behaviour and the author of classic studies of hyaenas, otters and badgers, as well as a biography of his Oxford mentor Niko Tinbergen.
1. In the field
2. Camouflage in an aquarium
3. Gulls and their enemies: foxes and hedgehogs
4. Serengeti: hyenas, lions and the dusty track to Seronera
5. Solomon, the hyena in my bath
6. Clans of the savannah
7. Hyenas hunt
8. Witches, and death in the dark
9. Masai, people and art on the Serengeti plains
10. Striped without a clan
11. Kalahari desert: a story of sand dunes, people, hyenas and badgers
12. Nomads of northern Kenya
13. Harar, town of the people's hyena
14. Vultures gathering
15. Flying next to vultures
16. Chasing dogs on Darwin's islands
17. Badgering in Britain
18. Olfactory delights and olives
19. Shetland otters
20. Otters in and around the garden
21. Otters, crocodiles and orcas
22. Three monks, calls of gibbons, and otters in Thailand
23. Down under: Platypus, Quolls and leeches
24. Just one last project
Hans Kruuk is a behavioural ecologist with a particular interest in carnivore behaviour, life history and conservation. He did his PhD under Niko Tinbergen at the University of Oxford in 1964, on behaviour of gulls and their predators. He then became Deputy Director of the Serengeti Research Institute in Tanzania, before moving back to the University of Oxford in 1971 as Research Fellow, then to the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology in Scotland as a Senior Principal Research Officer. He has authored over 120 scientific publications and seven books, including The Spotted Hyena: Predation and Social Behavior (1972), The Social Badger (1989), Wild Otters (1995), Otters: Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation (2006), Hunter and Hunted (2002) and a biography of Niko Tinbergen (Niko's Nature, 2003). He has received scientific medals from the Zoological Society of London and the British Mammal Society, and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen.
"[...] Subjective and charming, Kruuk's autobiography is a true celebration of a life dedicated to investigating the intricacies of animals' lives."
– Holly English, The Niche, September 2019