Capturing Wildlife moments - A coffee table book by Ashok Mahindra
I have glanced through many books and quite a lot of them are either too monopolistic (focusing only on one subject like the tiger or the elephant) or too dramatic (some carry more photos of the people than wildlife itself)..., but this book caught my attention with varied subjects being showcased right from a common sparrow to the very elusive Malayan Giant Squirrel. This for me in itself speaks about the intent of this book that is aptly described by the author, Ashok Mahindra as below…
“My endeavor as a photographer is to encourage people to care for all threatened species – from the smallest insects to the biggest cats – before it is too late”.
Let me highlight some of the strong points from my viewpoint about this book…
1. Malayan Giant Squirrel, Himalayan Black Bear, Hoolock Gibbon, Wild Buffallo, Stump-tailed Macaque, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Gharials representation with descriptions is the winning point of this book.
2. Mangrove roots, Termite mounds, Trees of Kanha & Bandhavgarh along with some behavioral descriptions and illustrations caught my attention that emphasizes the importance of everything in the wild, be it big or small, be it flora or fauna.
3. The lesser fauna (to the large sect of people) representation such as the frogs, butterflies, spiders, gecko along with their behavioral description is sure to hold the reader’s attention providing them insights into many forms of life that they would have been ignorant about.
4. The big mammals like the tigers, elephants, lions, leopards, rhino with some interesting facts and stories about them fill the dominant part of the book.
5. Pictorial representation of common species like the cormorant, sparrow, kingfisher, painted stork is sure a differentiator from many books that tend to overlook them.
6. Some of the images are stories by themselves like the couple of rich landscape photos or some of those individual tiger frames or the photos showcasing elephant behaviors.
7. The Thirteen ways forward conceptualized by Ashok Mahindra effectively summaries the current situation we are in and what needs to be done.
8. The author has covered a large portion of the wildlife inhabited areas in India ranging from Dachigam in Kashmir to Valapari in Tamil Nadu and from Gir in Gujarat to Kaziranga in Assam that speaks about the voluminous effort put in and it’s very likely this collection is over a period of many years of traveling the wild in India.
What I felt could have been better in the book was the layout formation and more emphasis on certain text (highlights in a paragraph) and inclusion of scientific names would have added more value.
For a nature lover, seeing wildlife is complete bliss and taking the effort to compile them and add substantial information about their status, behavior, distribution, threats is itself an accomplishment worth accolades.
Overall, a good coffee table book to read through that conveys a very strong message and hopes to inspire the young Indian generation in conserving what is left of the natural resources.
"This post is a part of the book review program of at Saevus Wildlife India in association with The Hemchand Mahindra Foundation for the book Capturing Wildlife Moments in India"