JLR Explore recommends the books ‘Mammals of South Asia’ Volume 1 and 2 to all wildlife enthusiasts. A complete guide to the mammals of South Asia, the books are an invaluable aid to identifying and understanding the region’s diverse mammalian fauna. The species accounts cover all aspects of field identification, including in-depth sections on distribution, behaviour, status and population. Edited by Dr. AJT Johnsingh and Nima Manjrekar, Volume 1 was published in 2012, and Volume 2 was published in January 2015.

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While Volume 1 covers bats, primates, canids (foxes, wolves, jackals) and felids (cat family); Volume 2 focuses on marine mammals, elephants, rhinoceros, bovids (cattle family), cervids (deer family) and rodents. Over 75 authors have contributed on areas of specialised research and the books come with illustrated with colour plates and photos. Many of the species, like the Arunachal Macaque, are covered in such detail for the first time in a popular publication.

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In the foreword, George B Schaller says, “A milestone in the natural history of the subcontinent— an indispensable, detailed source of information and value to everyone interested in mammals, whether layperson or scientist. With rigour and objectivity, the two volumes cover all 590 species in the region, many of them in detail and depth, based on consummate research conducted during the past half-century. This reflects a genuine increase in knowledge since the 1960s, when many species — from slender loris to elephant — were, for the first time, studied in the wild by trained biologists, with patience and respect, to create intimate and enduring portraits of other beings.”

About the Authors:

Dr. AJT Johnsingh grew up close to the Western Ghats and spent a lot of his youth in these forests. Following his pioneering doctoral work on Asiatic Wild Dogs in Bandipur National Park, he went on to become one of the leading wildlife biologists in India. After over two decades of teaching post-graduate students and forest officers, he retired from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. He now assists the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore and WWG-India. He has many scientific publications to his credit, and has written innumerable articles in books, On Jim Corbett’s Train and Other Tales from Tree Tops and Field Days : A Naturalist’s Journey Through South and Southeast Asia. You can read his interview with JLR Explore here

Nima Manjrekar is a wildlife biologist, trained at the wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. She spent several years in the Himalayas, studying first the Black Bears in Dachigam for her M.Sc, and then the Ibex in Spiti as part of her doctoral research. She has co-authored two children’s books on wildlife habitats, Walk the Rainforest with Niwupah and Walk the Grasslands with Takuri. She has also written guides to wildlife areas in Karnataka for the Karnataka Forest Department. She is now involved in wildlife film-making, and was a part of the team that made the award-winning documentaries on wild dogs by Krupakar Senani Features, Wild Dog Diaries for National Geographic Channels International and The Pack for Discovery Communications/Animal Planet.