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Currently for sale on Amazon Kindle.

Adventures with South African Animals

About the cover painting:
The cover picture is an oil painting of a lappet-faced vulture. Painted in oils by the author, the subject is a fine example of the myriads of magnificent creatures encountered in the wilder parts of South Africa.

Dr Alex Coutts, author and artist, holds full copyright to the cover painting as well as the text of the book Adventures with South African animals.

About this book:
In this book, the author traces lessons learnt directly from contact with wild nature, seen against a background of urban life, travel, apartheid and national liberation politics in South Africa. The devious messiness of human creations, including politics and finance, contrasts with the compelling freshness and brutal authenticity of the wild natural environment.
The book also contains a patchwork of anecdotes on encounters with African wildlife, within and outside the province of KwaZulu-Natal on the east coast of South Africa. The function of animal behaviour is occasionally analysed, with the behaviour speaking for itself as an integral part of what the animal is. Animal behaviour nevertheless provides pause for deeper reflection on our own origins as a species as well as the problems inherent in the survival of our most beautiful wild creatures and pristine natural environment. We, who seem to be a faltering experiment, are setting ourselves up for an inevitable, disastrous future, if one exists at all. To add substance to the narrative, the books dips into ecology, biology, conservation, biodiversity, palaeontology, anthropology and other sciences.
The author explores some of the many frailties of human nature and traces them largely to their origins in the natural world of Africa, the cradle of humankind. They are always with us, ever-present and constantly threatening to direct our actions in a demanding technological and even virtual world.
There seems to be little hard evidence coming from the natural world, of deeper meanings behind creation. Exploring these is beyond the realms of science. The dilemma implies for the writer that one has to base religion on faith alone, since the tools for research of the natural world are clearly inadequate to explain belief. Always, there is the background presence of an infinitely powerful First Cause, shrouded in mystery and with only occasional glimpses of intrinsic power, majesty and perfect example.
The process of analysis leads inevitably to a major theme of the book, namely the extraordinary diversity and fragility of the natural environment itself, so richly evident in South Africa yet increasingly relegated to the status of a resource to pillage. The process of destruction exemplifies the limited intelligence of the self-proclaimed pinnacle of natural creation, and the ‘illusion of central position’ that motivates it. The book concludes with contemplation of the greatest threat to biological diversity, which comes from humanity itself; the superior apes that have originated in nature and will return to it, yet engage so fiercely with destroying it.

This book provides condensed information only, and is designed to provoke thought by complementing, supplementing and amplifying other texts and records. You are urged to read as much other available material as possible and tailor the information to your individual needs. Every effort has been made to ensure that this book is as accurate and complete as possible within space constraints. There might nevertheless be errors, either content or typographical.
The author and Alex Educational shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained in the book. The text is therefore to be used as a general guide and not as the ultimate source of information on the topic.


Copyright © 2012 Dr Alex Coutts | All Rights Are Reserved