A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell
In 1957, Gerald Durrell and his wife set out to "collect" animals from Bafut in the British Cameroons of West Africa for their zoo, a location for which was yet to be secured. They returned with a menagerie of creatures and the novel is an account of how he shifts the animals around England while scouting for a permanent location. 'Throughout my life,' he writes, 'I have rarely if ever achieved what I wanted by tackling it in a logical fashion.' A Zoo in my Luggage is a hilarious true story of animal relocation written in Durrell's inimitable style that combines charming descriptions with dry humour. His timeless classic, My Family and Other Animals, is a childhood adventure. This novel captures his unwavering love for wildlife and nature as an adult.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Who can forget Mowgli? The little boy who was raised by a pack of wolves in the jungles of India. The book follows his adventures with all kinds of animals—Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the bear who teach him the important laws of the jungle to Sher Khan, the tiger who is Mowgli's mortal enemy. Other stories include Rikki-Tiki-Tavi, the tale of a brave mongoose who saves a family from two vicious cobras and Toomai, a young mahout and his elephant. The book transports you to a world of forests and animals, one riddled with meaning and symbolism in a way that can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.
Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett
After much persuasion from his friends and family, Jim Corbett finally penned down this riveting memoir of his encounters with big cats in the Indian Himalayas. First published in 1944 by Oxford University Press, Corbett used stories from his previous book titled Jungle Stories as its basis. The stories follow him as he tracks and kills several man-eating tigers in India, including the terrifying Champawat Tigress, who set a world record by killing 436 people in Nepal and India before being shot by Corbett in 1907.
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
The Snow Leopard is a day-by-day account of the author's journey into the remote Dolpo region of the Nepal Himalayas with his friend, the biologist George Schaller, to study the mating patterns of the Himalayan blue sheep. He also hopes to catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard which ultimately becomes a metaphor for his own spiritual quest as the book progresses. "Figures dark beneath their loads pass down the far bank of the river, rendered immortal by the streak of sunset upon their shoulders." His empathy towards the natural makes this book one of the greatest examples of both nature and travel writing.
The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
Lawrence Anthony, the wildlife conservationist, took in a herd of wild African elephants at his Thula Thula game reserve. The matriarch and her baby had been shot leaving the herd traumatized and highly dangerous. Anthony realized he might be their last chance of survival. This book is the incredible story of his struggle to form a bond with these elephants who ultimately accepted Anthony as their matriarch. When he died in 2012, the same herd of elephants made a twelve-hour journey to his home to mourn his death.