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‘Becoming Wild’: Inside the Cultures of Animals

This beautiful phrase from Carl Safina's book Becoming Wild deserves to be remembered: 'The animals just need room to live and to be left in peace to make their own choices'.

BARBARA J. KING: Animals think, feel and learn from each other in complex ways that finally are coming to be recognized. In Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace, ecologist and veteran author Carl Safina writes: “It’s as if we are just waking up from a long journey through space and having a look around an interesting new planet.” Becoming Wild is Safina’s seventh book for adults, and it extends this new awareness of animal intelligence and emotion to questions of animal culture. “Culture is information and behavior that flows socially and can be learned, retained, and shared,” Safina says.

Joining field researchers as they observe sperm whales in the Caribbean, scarlet macaws in Amazonian Peru, and chimpanzees in Uganda’s Budongo Forest, Safina explains how we know that many animals make use of that social flow, instead of only instinct or gene encodings. Combining the knowledge of a seasoned scientist with the skills of a good storyteller, Safina invites us to leave our cultural worlds and enter animals’ ones to see just how they work…

As in his previous book Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, Safina calls on his readers to reverse the trend of growing harm toward the natural world. As we gaze around this “interesting new planet” full of complex animals, this beautiful phrase from Becoming Wild deserves to be remembered: “The animals just need room to live and to be left in peace to make their own choices”.   SOURCE…

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