Tales of an African Vet by Dr. Roy Aronson
Lyons Press, Guilford, CT, 2011
Dr. Aronson sent me an email asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his book. I jumped at the chance, so he had the publisher send me a copy.
Dr. Roy Aronson is a veterinarian living in Capetown, South Africa. Besides his normal work with dogs, cats and other more exotic pets he has had many opportunities to treat African wildlife on farms, ranches and private game reserves. Along the way he has met and worked with very special vets and wild animal experts.
This small, quiet book is filled with tales of treating different kinds of animals, from wolf-dog hybrids to lions, snakes and elephants. Each chapter describes the ranch or reserve where Aronson, sometime with his wife Kathy, also a vet, does this difficult and dangerous work. Sometimes it involves sedating a lioness to facilitate an operation on her eyelid, at other times it involved rangers rescuing a baby elephant from a mud hole, finding a home for him and raising him by hand.
Aronson’s tone is clear and direct. He writes about the problems African animals face in the wild, hunting, poaching and human habitation being some of them. He also describes the good work many people do to mitigate these problems. It is heartening to read that wildlife habitat is actually increasing as people who own land choose to turn it into wildlife parks and reserves.
…There is a clear line between human habitat and the wild area occupied by animals. It is a line that is often crossed. We venture into nature, and sometimes wild animals enter into our domain. Whenever there is a clash between wild animals and us or our pets, there should be respect. With respect there can be coexistence. Without it, there can only be tragedy. We are the intruders here. We have occupied the mountainside. We are also the so-called intelligent species. It is up to us to set the example of how to cohabit with other species. If we do this with sensitivity, then we will all survive. If we do this without it, then our fellow inhabitants of this planet will be harmed, and we will be the poorer for it. From page 162.
I was happy to receive this book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I would love to pass it on to someone in the US who would like to read and review it. If you are interested please leave a comment with your email address.