RISE OF THE LIONESS
Restoring A Habitat and its Pride on The Liuwa Plains
By: Bradley Hague
Published: September 13, 2016
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
In a tiny country in Africa where people live in huts, the population of lions was reduced to just one….a female lion appropriately named, Lady. Through war and severe poaching, the ecosystem was damaged with too many predators, not enough prey or land for them to survive. The author documents the fight to save Lady and bring new life to the Liuwa Plains of Zambia.
With the help of scientists, park rangers, and government officials Lady’s survival became of the utmost importance. Lady was born to a litter in approximately 2002 and in 2004 photographer Herbert Brauer noticed that she seemed lonely. She would come up to their vehicle and roll around near them on her back (a sign of submissiveness and trust). She would purr and act playful and remain close to their camp. The crew became concerned and noticed that humans were the closest thing to family she had. Brauer made a film titled, “The Last Lioness” which made Lady famous around the world.
In this book, Hauge chronicles the decline of the lion population as well as other species in Western Zambia and how a team took on the task of realigning the ecosystem and giving Lady a family of lions again. It is amazing the dedication this team had for saving a community of people and animals over the course of 12+ years. There were many failures and reasons to give up, but they never did and today, Lady is blessed with a pride of lions to keep her company. The amazing part is how it all came together.
Reading this book reminded me of Saturday mornings during my childhood watching Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”. I always learned so much from Marlin Perkins about animals and their habitats. The show was something I looked forward to every Saturday and I remember often looking up the different animals and countries in our encyclopedias after the show was over. (Now, I’m really dating myself!) Reading this book took me back to my childhood living room couch and I quickly became fascinated with Lady and her story of survival.
I really enjoyed this book. I hadn’t heard of Lady before and I learned so much about the country of Zambia and the importance of every piece to the ecosystem. If one part of the cycle falls apart, the whole system collapses. It isn’t surprising that the book is also full of fabulous photography of the animals in their environment. It isn’t a long book, but it is probably more appropriate for upper elementary to middle school readers due to the vocabulary and length of chapters. There is a glossary of animals and terms at the back of the book as well.
|Bradley Hague – source|
Bradley Hague has worked as an author and producer with National Geographic for more than ten years. Along with his print work, he has produced, developed, or designed more than 40 hours of television documentaries and series on networks such as National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the BBC. When not writing about the world around us, he can usually be found in DC with his family.
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