Friday, September 11, 2009

Among The Bears: Raising Orphan Cubs in the Wild

by Benjamin Kilham

Thumbs up.

Mr. Kilham, a registered wildlife rehabilitator, is asked to raise a pair of bear cubs. Although he knows they would die if left in the wild, he is somewhat apprehensive to undertake this challenge. Raising bear cubs is an eighteen month obligation and the success rate for returning cubs raised in captivity is not high. With this in mind, Kilham decides to attempt a less traditional approach. His goal is to keep them as much in the wild as possible during this process.

Although I've not finished the book, it appears that Mr.Kelham was successful at his task.  So much so, in fact, that he is called upon repeatedly in the coming years to work his magic on other orphaned cubs and comes to be considered the expert at this variety of wildlife rehabilitation.

Mr. Kelham is dyslectic and explains in his preface how that affected his life and why, therefore he had to work with a professional writer to make this book a reality. He mentions his dyslexia periodically throughout the body of the work also. It is usually in the context of why he chose certain things in his life and how he overcame various obstacles. This could be a good example for others who struggle with learning and and other disabilities.

One thing that stands out in this book is Mr. Kelham's humility with regard to the behaviors and personalities of his bears. He makes a point of admitting constantly throughout the book how little we understand about how animals accomplish certain things and why they engage in certain behaviors. He is very careful not to engage in anthropomorphism. (I had only a vague idea of what this word means until recently. Apparently is refers to the attributing human personalities thought processes to animal behavior.) This stands in marked contrast to my previous book.

All in all, so far, the story is well told and draws the reader along to learn what happens next with the cubs.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not commenting on this specific post, but on this blog in general. I'm so glad to see you doing this. You read so many books and have a talent for reviewing them. It's a nice niche for you, and it's helpful to those of us with similar worldviews.

    I'm currently reading a book that I know you'd find interesting - once you're a little farther down on your "In Progress" list. :) It's "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression", by Amity Shlaes. I think it would be right up your alley. (Maybe you've already read it)