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Into Africa Paperback – 7 Nov 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (7 Nov. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226644308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226644301
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,164,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A gritty and intelligent book that provides fascinating research on the lives of social animals and the harsh life biologists lead in collecting data (i.e., it's filled with filled with dysentery and worms and frustratingly unreliable transportation)."--Vicki Croke "Boston Globe "

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would not buy or read anything from Craig Packer. This so called"Lion Expert" is making a fortune these days in support of Lion Trophy Hunting. A barbaric hobby of wealthy tourists who pay thousand of dollars to shoot and kill wild animals, take photographs proudly alongside the dead body and have the animal carcass chopped up and made into "trophies" to take home and mount to show off. He co-wrote the article "Sustainable trophy hunting of African lions". According to Packer, he recommends the killing of Male Lions over the age of 6 years old and sporting a Black Nose. It should also be noted that 2-3 year old Lions can sometimes also have black noses. Furthermore, 6 years is more or less when a Male Lion reaches full maturity and will have just taken over his first pride and fathered cubs. So in killing these Lions as Packer recommends, the remaining pride members become vulnerable to take overs from other Males which means the existing cubs will most certainly be killed so the new males can mate with the females and father their own cubs.
This man is a Lion's worst enemy. Just look him up, you'll find plenty of information supporting this.
So if you truly care about Africa's wildlife and wish to read about it from a person who truly loves and respects and values its wildlife, you would not purchase this or any other book written by this guy.
I wish Amazon would let me vote 'Zero' star!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 May 1998
Format: Hardcover
Wow! This well-written book covers, in narrative style, with humor, a recent 52-day field research expedition by the author to the Tanzanian Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater to study lions, and to Gombe (of Goodall fame) to study chimps and baboons. In frequent flashbacks he reviews his past field expeditions and what they discovered -- new theories about why lions, chimps and baboons form the type of social structures they do. He also covers the struggles and hopes of the wildlife parks, and the difficulty of trying to reconcile the needs, wants, and contributions of: the researchers, the people living in the area, the government, the tourists, the poachers, and the foreign hunters -- all on the limited funds available.
He throws in a lot of information on the species he studies, and builds this information into a theory about how all species -- perhaps even man -- are motivated to either cooperate or compete with each other. Packer also includes his commentaries and anecdotes about his fellow researchers, camp employees, local residents, local and national government officials, and the history of the area.
Packer does an especially thorough job of analyzing how the species' survival is affected by men, disease, inbreeding, other species, and their own species' behavior patterns.
The liner notes include recommendations of this book from the renowned George Schaller and Cynthia Moss. The reviews here by Booklist and Kirkus are accurate.
That said, I do have some minor quibbles with the book. There is no index, and the table of contents is only chronological according to the "diary" format of the book.
Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 1994, has 278 pages in 3 PARTS, 17 chapters, 13 colour pictures and 4 maps. This book is written in the shape of author's diary from 26.10.1991 to 15.12.1991. DR CRAIG PACKER was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1950. He graduated from Stanford University in 1972 with human Biology degree and completed Doctorate of Philosophy at University of Sussex in 1977. He currently lives in Minneapolis and teaches Biology at University of Minnesota. He was sent to Tanzania to study baboons at GOMBE with Jane Goodall. In 1978, he began the Serengeti Lion Project with his wife ANNE PUSEY (also Minnesota Professor). He studied the effect of full Moon on number of lion attacks and man-eating attacks. Packer has 2 children, Jonathan (1984) and Catherine (1987).
On 26.10.1991, Packer leaves Minneapolis for NAIROBI via London and Rome. This was his 16th trip to Africa in 10 years. Arriving at JKIA, they pass through Nairobi, a city that doubles in population every 10 years! After getting supplies they head for NAMANGA, cross the Kenya/Tanzania border and stay over night in ARUSHA. After getting permits to stay and some shopping in dusty town centre, they were glad to get out of the crowds and move towards Mto-Wa-Mbu, Lake MANYARA and climb the rim of NGORONGORO Crater. After 2 punctures, they head for the SIRINGIT (the immense open space). Moving down the crater highlands, the road kills cars by shaking them to bits. Passing SERONERA River, they arrive at 'LION HOUSE' - Serengeti Research Institute (SRI).
They try to track radio collared lions and their prides. Lions are also identified by their whisker spots. They dart a large male lion and take blood samples and check him over. Faecal specimens are collected from lions which contain a lot of parasites and worms.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Following the lions, fighting the bugs 14 Nov. 2003
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Field biologist Packer has been studying the primates at Gombe (Jane Goodall's territory) and the lions of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater for more than 20 years. Into Africa is a present-tense daily diary of his 1991 trip to his old and present haunts. In it, he manages to describe an entire career of accomplishments and disappointments.
From the fatigue of long airline flights to the frustration of searching for lion worm medicine in third world pharmacies, or losing a day's water samples to an especially deep rut in the road, Packer exemplifies the dedication of scientists who brave the hardships and precarious politics of the third world to study Africa's great animals.
Introducing new research assistants to lion watching, Packer recalls his own early days - the long hours of boredom (lions mostly sleep) punctuated by moments of excitement and discovery. He leads us through the trials and errors of collecting parasite data and explains how research thus far has revealed why lions live in groups and why the wealthiest of lions - those in the food-rich Ngorongo Crater - suffer from inbreeding, much like the old royal families of Europe.
While describing the social lives and eating habits of lions, Packer invites us into every aspect of the researcher's life, including internal squabbles, money problems, dangerous night flights and vehicle breakdowns.
Then it's time for him to move on to Gombe, "the unhealthiest place in the world," which he approaches with a mixture of dread and anticipation. We soon learn that it's not only the hot, damp, parasite-rich environment that haunts his memories, but the kidnapping of four students during the 70's, a fate narrowly escaped by Packer and his wife who left Gombe to be de-wormed elsewhere.
While describing the exciting discoveries made at Gombe from its earliest days, he also recalls the fate of a researcher who died in a fall and remembers the treacheries and heroisms of some of the African workers. And then he drinks some water. The next entries are a haze of illness, fear and, pushed by time constraints, work.
The diary ends with a conference of scientists pooling their data to try and decide how to best use the resources of the Serengeti National Park. So much knowledge coming together serves to show how much still has to be learned and how every change in the ecosystem affects every other aspect - land, animals, people.
The diary format suits Packer. The immediacy is exciting and allows the reader to see the day-to-day work, hampered and occasionally aided, by serendipity and disaster. Packer is so well-organized that this close-up view never detracts from the big picture.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An insightful look at wildlife research in East Africa 13 Nov. 2001
By Frances C. Morrier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by another client on a recent safari trip to Tanzania. Her description of the author's unsentimental descriptions of the challenges involved in collecting and transporting various 'samples' intrigued me. I really enjoyed the book--particularly the sections on lions in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The blurb on the back cover which comments that the book may be the best antidote to 'Out of Africa' hit the nail on the head.
I thoroughly enjoyed Packer's descriptions of time spent in the field, observing and tracking lions. He also does a good job contrasting his everyday life in Minnesota with life in the Serengeti and Gombe Parks.
If you're interested in a 'real' picture of a researcher's life in the field, lions or baboons, or descriptions of the Serengeti, you won't be disappointed.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Day by day account of wildlife research in East Africa 11 July 2001
By Ein Kunde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Into Africa" is a detailed and interesting account of wildlife research in two national parks in Eastern Africa (lions in Serengeti and chimpanzees in Gombe). Packer writes what most readers would expect to see in such a book (i.e., about animal behavior and scientific theories that try to explain it), but he also tells us about the day-to-day life of a wildlife biologist working in Africa (budgeting, traveling, provisioning, working with local and international staff, and avoiding both animal and human danger).
A Lion's Worst enemy! 12 July 2014
By Andles4Forks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I would not buy or read anything from Craig Packer. This so called"Lion Expert" is making a fortune these days in support of Lion Trophy Hunting. A barbaric hobby of wealthy tourists who pay thousand of dollars to shoot and kill wild animals, take photographs proudly alongside the dead body and have the animal carcass chopped up and made into "trophies" to take home and mount to show off. He co-wrote the article "Sustainable trophy hunting of African lions". According to Packer, he recommends the killing of Male Lions over the age of 6 years old and sporting a Black Nose. It should also be noted that 2-3 year old Lions can sometimes also have black noses. Furthermore, 6 years is more or less when a Male Lion reaches full maturity and will have just taken over his first pride and fathered cubs. So in killing these Lions as Packer recommends, the remaining pride members become vulnerable to take overs from other Males which means the existing cubs will most certainly be killed so the new males can mate with the females and father their own cubs.
This man is a Lion's worst enemy. Just look him up, you'll find plenty of information supporting this.
So if you truly care about Africa's wildlife and wish to read about it from a person who truly loves and respects and values its wildlife, you would not purchase this or any other book written by this guy.
I wish Amazon would let me vote 'Zero' star!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Super book on Tanzania and wildlife 3 May 1998
By Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wow! This well-written book covers, in narrative style, with humor, a recent 52-day field research expedition by the author to the Tanzanian Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater to study lions, and to Gombe (of Goodall fame) to study chimps and baboons. In frequent flashbacks he reviews his past field expeditions and what they discovered -- new theories about why lions, chimps and baboons form the type of social structures they do. He also covers the struggles and hopes of the wildlife parks, and the difficulty of trying to reconcile the needs, wants, and contributions of: the researchers, the people living in the area, the government, the tourists, the poachers, and the foreign hunters -- all on the limited funds available.
He throws in a lot of information on the species he studies, and builds this information into a theory about how all species -- perhaps even man -- are motivated to either cooperate or compete with each other. Packer also includes his commentaries and anecdotes about his fellow researchers, camp employees, local residents, local and national government officials, and the history of the area.
Packer does an especially thorough job of analyzing how the species' survival is affected by men, disease, inbreeding, other species, and their own species' behavior patterns.
The liner notes include recommendations of this book from the renowned George Schaller and Cynthia Moss. The reviews here by Booklist and Kirkus are accurate.
That said, I do have some minor quibbles with the book. There is no index, and the table of contents is only chronological according to the "diary" format of the book. If the reader wants to review the material -- however excellent -- on lion infanticide or chimpanzee wars, the reader has to leaf through the entire book to find it.
Likewise, there is no list of suggested further reading or sources, and no glossary. While Packer does define the Swahili terms he uses, he does so ONCE, in text. When one reads that "Tony Sinclair is the real mzee" on page 244, one has to remember the definition from page 52 [mzee is literally "old man" -- a term of honor and respect].
Packard also seems to dwell on the negative and random man-on-man violence -- for instance, a lengthy report on the 1975 kidnapping of four researchers from Gombe by Zairian rebels, camp thieves, and assaults on tourists. Grouping these incidents occurring over 20 years in one narrative makes them seem more pervasive than they are.
This is an EXCELLENT book for anyone interested in African wildlife or animal behavior in general.
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