Secrets of the Savanna

Secrets of the Savanna

Tourists generally see South Luangwa National Park, but there is an even wilder and less visited part of the Luangwa Valley where humans have not intruded much - North Luangwa. Sadly, in the period described in the book - poachers had intruded and decimated the elephant population.

A reviewer describes this as a fascinating look at the interplay of social and wildlife upheavals in Africa in the early 1990s and a worthy follow-up to the authors' "Cry of the Kalahari".

They describe traveling to the "remote and ruggedly beautiful" Luangwa Valley.

The location is northeastern Zambia - the project - to help save the North Luangwa National Park, where the elephant population had been dramatically reduced by poachers.

The pair alternate writing chapters, with Mark presenting historical background to the region's human and animal problems and describing interactions with corrupt government security officers who eventually force the Owenses from Zambia.

Although Mark's writing is vivid, Delia's chapters present the book's most moving scenes, featuring the day-to-day life of the animals and the social disruption caused by poaching: she sees teenage elephants, deprived of adult guidance because their parents were killed by poachers, living "in an elephant version of Lord of the Flies."

She also lovingly showcases an orphaned elephant named Gift, whose journey from baby to mother represents hope for the region, realized with the current Zambian president's progress in fighting corruption and maintaining the Owenses' work.

Secrets of the Savanna


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