Animals of the Masai Mara - book review

By: Gabriel Thoumi, CFA
January 06, 2013

Spotted hyena in the Masai Mara. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Spotted hyena in the Masai Mara. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Animals of the Masai Mara is the first illustrated guidebook to the Masai Mara region along the Kenya and Tanzania border. This is the world famous region of wildebeest migrations, large felines, towering African elephants, fascinating cultures, and great flora and fauna diversity. This is the guidebook for every child, and child inside of us, between the ages of 5 and 105 that has ever dreamt of learning about the fascinating animals seen on a safari in Africa.

In the Animals of the Masai Mara, the husband and wife team of Vicki Kennedy and Adam Scott Kennedy, and their colleagues Jackson Looseyla, David Lekada Mpusia, Joseph ole Kima and Petro Naurori, have a created a wonderful guidebook. It is colorful, easy-to-use, humorous with funny, local anecdotes, and, most importantly, presented as a platform for informing effectively a wide audience about relevant scientific information regarding the region’s fauna.

The Animals of the Masai Mara showcases 65 mammals, 17 lizards, and 6 snakes species. Each animal’s entry in Animals of the Masai Mara shows their scientific name and their English, Kiswahili, and Maa names. Each entry includes key descriptive information such as physical size, gestation period, food sources, habits, and how to find them the animals.

Many guidebooks are technical and dry resulting in an inability to communicate about the iconoclastic character that draws us into the ecology where we are visiting. Yet Animals of the Masai Mara breaks this trend. It is at the same time a book that both communicates key scientific detail about each animal while it reads like a pulp novel that you buy at the airport to entertain you on a long flight.

The Animals of the Masai Mara is an enjoyable book to read. I sat down, read the book, enjoyed myself, laughed at their stories, and appreciated how their team communicates scientific information about a region that obviously the authors and commentators have great love for.

In short, this is a wonderful guide book that is a must-have for both local and international visitors to the Masai Mara region. Rich in detail, filled with quick wit, Animals of the Masai Mara is a joy to read.

How to order:

Animals of the Masai Mara
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 978-0691156019
Authors: Vicki Kennedy and Adam Scott Kennedy
Commentary: Jackson Looseyla, David Lekada Mpusia, Joseph ole Kima and Petro Naurori

Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, Climate Bonds Initiative Advisory Panel, is also a natural resource scientist.

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By: Gabriel Thoumi, CFA (January 06, 2013).

Animals of the Masai Mara - book review.