Book reviews:    Tracks and Tracking in southern Africa


book34a.jpg (39313 bytes) Title
A Photographic Guide to
Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa
Author
Louis Liebenberg
ISBN
1 86872 008 X
Edition
First, 2000
Publisher
Struik Publishers Ltd
Pages
144
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This is a very small and handy pocket book for identification of tracks of southern African animals. Although the name says photographic guide, the photos are usually limited to the animals, not their tracks. The tracks are shown with drawings, sometimes together with a photo of the footprint. This is however certainly not a disadvantage, since drawings are much clearer than photographs. Sometimes there are also photographs of other items, such a sthe droppings (as shown in the example below).

book34b.jpg (43304 bytes)This is one of the few books that is not limited to mammals alone. Besides mammals, it also includes turtles (terrapins, tortoises), reptiles and some birds. There are also some pages about insects and snakes. But the majority of the book is about the tracks of the larger mammals of southern Africa. In fact there is just one page about rats and mice tracks. But this will probably be the least interesting group of mammals for most readers. Those who are interested in this particular group of rodents should refer to specialized books. The larger mammals of southern africa are all pretty well covered. At the end there is a small checklist with drawings of droppings of the more common animals.

Most animals are shown with a photograph, sometimes also a photograph of their tracks or droppings. Besides the English name, also the scientific name is shown. Each animal has a distribution map, which can help you when trying to identify some tracks. The animal is described briefly in the text, which also mentions: size, habitat, habits, food and spoor (tracks). The tracks are shown in a clear black and white drawing with indication of size. Usually the track of   forefoot and hindfoot are shown seperate.


Conclusion:
 This book is intended for the visitor of southern african wildlife areas. For most tourists it will be and ideal guide. It is very small and handy and covers all of the animals you are likely to encounter. It has good photographs and drawings and the descriptive text is clear and to the point. It is also an ideal first guide book. For more experienced people, I would recommend the other books on tracks, reviewed in this section.

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