Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat
(Scientists in the Field Series)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), April 2014
A trusted pair of wildlife observers introduce Namibian cheetahs and a woman who has taken on the responsibility for saving them.
Montgomery and Bishop draw readers into the setting from the very beginning with a map, description and photographs of the Namibian savanna where Laurie Marker founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund 20 years ago. There, in an area that is now part of a large nature conservancy, scientists and students take in rescued cheetah orphans, provide sanctuary, return most to the wild, and demonstrate ways farmers and cheetahs can live in harmony. Dogs and goats are key. The CCF raises and sells Kangal dogs, a breed large enough to guard goats, sheep and cattle from large predators. They raise goats, too, to use in training the dogs and Namibians who want to learn to farm. Like many of the best titles in this series, this focuses on a single scientist and her work, describes how she got there, what she does, the tools she uses and why her work is important. As always, young people are included in the story—here, visiting U.S. high school seniors who participate in a wildlife census. Bishop’s stunning cheetah photographs will draw readers into this appealing and balanced picture of a conservationist at work.
Another winning combination of elegant design, thoughtful organization and fascinating information.
— Kirkus STARRED REVIEW