By John Frederick Walker
A compelling tale of exploration and event, politics and conflict, instructed during the quest for probably the most in basic terms majestic of Africa's animals, stuck amid the upheavals and brutal savagery of Angola's wars
The nice animals of Africa have lengthy been below siege—once in many instances slaughtered as trophies by means of big-game hunters, their habitats at the moment are slowly being choked off by way of the relentless encroachment of human improvement, and more and more the efforts to maintain them are hostage to the war that ravages the continent. In a undeniable Curve of Horn, veteran journalist John Frederick Walker tells the tale of 1 of the main respected and endangered of those regal beasts: the enormous sable antelope of Angola, an imposing, coal-black quadruped with breathtaking curved horns over 5 ft lengthy. it truly is a captivating and tragic story of exploration and experience, politics and battle, the brutal realities of existence in Africa at the present time and the sour offerings of conflicting conservation concepts.
A sure Curve of Horn lines the sable's emergence as a hugely sought-after typical historical past prize sooner than the 1st international struggle, and follows its fight to outlive in a battle quarter fought over by way of the troops of a half-dozen international locations, and its transformation right into a political image and conservation icon. As he follows the path of this mysterious animal, Walker interweaves the tales of the adventurers, scientists, and warriors who've come less than the thrall of the beast, and the way their activities might form the process the background of the enormous sable antelope and the background of the war-torn kingdom that's its domestic.
Culminating with a heart-pounding voyage into the center of rebel-held Angola looking for the 1st medical affirmation of the animal's lifestyles in many years, a definite Curve of Horn is an exciting combination of historical past, ordinary technology, and adventure—and a desirable inspect the realm of a powerful beast that has haunted the imaginations of hunters and naturalists worldwide for generations.
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Extra resources for A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola
However,” the SADF admitted, “small amounts of ivory, captured through UNITA from poachers and others in Angola, have been transported through the armed forces on behalf of UNITA over an 18-month interval from mid-1978 to the tip of 1979. ” The perform, they concluded, used to be led to 1979. Jan Breytenbach notion the military probe was once not anything greater than a whitewash. The secrecy that had regularly surrounded South African operations in Angola made ideal disguise for corrupt military officials—those, as Breytenbach later placed it, who appeared an elephant as “a large piece of valueless, cellular meat, wearing in the direction of its entrance finish important tusks less than its ludicrous hose-pipe nose”—to individually benefit from it. The clandestine conduits that were manage to carry provides in to UNITA have been extensively utilized to smuggle UNITA’s ivory out to the some distance East. through 1989, with the implementation of UN solution 435 (and Namibian independence) looming nearer, contraband shipments of ivory, rhino horn, and diamonds elevated dramatically. per week after the inside track of the seven-ton Okahandja ivory haul broke, Col. Breytenbach despatched a letter and an impassioned assertion to the Sunday instances in Pretoria. The accusations may need had much less influence in the event that they hadn’t come from him. lately retired as a colonel seconded to army intelligence, Breytenbach used to be the main embellished soldier of the SADF. He additionally occurred to be the brother of the exiled poet Breyten Breytenbach and had a shiny prose kind of his personal. He wrote that once South Africa’s Operation Savannah crusade, UNITA forces moved into the distant Cuando Cubango to elude the MPLA. “Savimbi had not often settled down, even though, while he observed the capability riches in millions of tusks, flaunted innocently throughout him via thousands of elephants … Volleys of photographs rippled throughout the area, now not the only heavy shot of the discerning hunter, however the tearing rattle of automated fireplace from AK-47 rifles and laptop weapons. Elephants have been mowed down indiscriminately,” he charged. “The millions of elephants turned hundreds of thousands, the hundreds of thousands turned enormous quantities and the loads just a only a few. ” 3 years ahead of, while Breytenbach had crisscrossed UNITA’s territory, he had visible little flora and fauna. Even the birds have been slightly obvious. “Today, a perilous silence has settled over the Cuando Cubango,” he went on. The elephants and rhinos have been long past, the herds of buffalo “shot, skinned and cooked to feed hundreds of thousands of UNITA troops and their dependents. the opposite animals went the way in which of the buffalo. ” A follow-up tale in line with his revelations ran in mid-November less than the banner headline “WAR VETERAN hyperlinks SADF TO UNITA IVORY SLAUGHTER,” and bought foreign awareness. UNITA’s consultant within the usa easily scoffed on the document, even though the 12 months prior to Savimbi had informed a brand new York instances reporter that UNITA was once actually buying and selling ivory with South Africa—but simply the tusks of elephants that had died of “natural factors. ” And now Savimbi used to be firmly accountable for the enormous sable lands.