Review Of "Orangutans: Wizards Of The Rain Forest" By A. E. Russen

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A fascinating firsthand account of the behavior and intelligence of orangutans, Russon's book is also an account of the successes, failures, and politics of orangutan rehabilitation in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra. Although Russon is a primatologist, this is a personal, not a scholarly book. Like Jane Goodall's autobiographical writings on her work with chimpanzees, it illustrates the behavior of apes by anecdote rather than by data or analysis. The work overviews what is known about orangutans, followed by a history of the author's experiences at Camp Leakey, the orangutan rehabilitation center directed by Birute Galdikas. Russon soon finds herself embroiled in the problems of rehabilitating these apes, the behavior of animals raised by humans, and the economic forces that lead to the destruction of their habitat, which produces the orphaned orangutans in need of help. The book is lavishly illustrated with full-color photographs by the author on almost every page. There are no citations, but the bibliography contains four to ten references for each chapter. Minimal index. The book is superbly produced and will be an important addition to most libraries. All levels.


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