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The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell
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The Bafut Beagles (original 1954; edition 2017)

by Gerald Durrell (Author)

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6061228,170 (3.92)43
Travel to the wilds of Cameroon with the conservationist whose work inspired Masterpiece production The Durrells in Corfu on public television. In 1949, Gerald Durrell embarks with fellow zoologist Kenneth Smith on an expedition to collect rare animals in the British Cameroons in West Central Africa. There, he meets the Nero-like local ruler, the Fon of Bafut, who likes a man who can hold his liquor--will Durrell be able to get on his good side?   In this unique memoir, set off on a journey with the famed British naturalist's group of hunters and his pack of motley hunting dogs as they encounter an array of exotic creatures, including flying mice, booming squirrels, a frog with a mysterious coat of hair, and teacup-size monkeys; and witness the joys and problems of collecting, keeping, and transporting wild animals from Africa to England.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author's estate.  … (more)
Member:cathyskye
Title:The Bafut Beagles
Authors:Gerald Durrell (Author)
Info:Open Road Media (2017), 206 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Non-Fiction

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The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell (1954)

Recently added byDavid-Block, cathyskye, ArdizzoneFan, Maatjedupreez, maniakus, BellyandKill, ponnypoppy, MASP, private library
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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The Bafut Beagles, like other installments of Durrell's endeavors in animal conservation, is filled with wonderful anecdotes of the animals he captures and his experiences with the local people. His sense of humor when describing some of the mishaps he has with the people and animals is laugh-out-loud funny, and his sense of wonder at the awe-inspiring scenery is extremely evocative. Unfortunately, I did not find this book to be quite as enjoyable as others of his that I have read, and my reaction boils down to two things: a heavy hand with pidgin English, which made my head hurt whenever I had to translate large sections, and the slight note of condescension I detected whenever Durrell spoke about the locals, although he did occasionally praise them.

Even though I did have trouble with those two things I mentioned, I still enjoyed the book-- especially since I'd just returned from a trip to a local zoo where I'd seen three or four species of animals that the author talked about in the book. I look forward to reading more of Durrell's work in animal conservation. ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 21, 2020 |
This book is an account of naturalist/zookeeper Gerald Durrell’s trip to Cameroon to collect animal specimens. An official suggests that Bafut would be a good place to collect specimens, so Durrell contacts the Fon of Bafut, who proves to be an eager host. Durrell employs several local hunters who become known as the Bafut Beagles. Durrell and the Beagles hunt for several species on Durrell’s wishlist. Many of the locals also bring wildlife to sell to Durrell. By the end of his stay, he has dozens of specimens to transport back to England, including monkeys, large cats, rodents, and frogs, and snakes.

Durrell and the Africans converse in pidgin English, and the dialogue in the book uses pidgin. The book reflects the colonial era in which it was lived and written. 21st century readers will cringe when Durrell is addressed as Masa by his African colleagues. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the book for this reason. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jan 11, 2019 |
Not as entertaining as My Family and Other Animals and its sequels, but interesting nonetheless. The attitude towards the Cameroonians is a bit patronising - in this sense the book is very much of its time. However, looking beyond that, the information about the animals is fascinating. ( )
  cazfrancis | Mar 19, 2016 |
In this delightful book Durrell describes a trip he made to the Cameroons -probably in the late forties- to collect wild animals to take back to England (for a zoo or his own collection I am not sure). He plunges straight into the story without much introduction or explanation, but happily I have read enough of his other books that I recognized the context immediately. Having gained the support of the local headsman, the Fon, via copious drinking bouts and gathered a group of eager hunters and mongrel dogs (the "beagles" of title) he avidly gathers up as many animal "specimens" as possible. This is done by paying nice sums to local people for what they bring him, as well as going out on his own hunting forays. Several times he ran into difficulties convincing the people that an animal he knew of actually existed, as they had never seen one, or that an animal could be safely approached and caught, as they thought some innocent creatures deadly. I really enjoyed the story, the straightforward humor and the descriptions of the wildlife. Some species I had never heard of, or didn't recognize right away because the name Durrell used for them was unfamiliar. Definitely the most curious creature in the book was the hairy frog (also known as the horror frog)! Also described are several kinds of monkeys, flying mice, bush pigs, the golden cat, rock hyrax, numerous excitable squirrels, cane rats, snakes and many many others.

At first I found reading the book a bit awkward and uncomfortable, as he communicated with the natives in pidgin English and there are entire conversations written this way (reminiscent of certain parts of Peter Pan). It felt insulting, but there were a few times where moved by sudden excitement or indignation the author would burst out a sentence or two of grammatically correct English, which baffled his native hunting companions. So I guess the people actually spoke that way, and partly through the book I was able to accept this and just read it. The depictions of local customs and characters (especially the Fon himself) were really well-drawn and add a lot to the book.

more at the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Jan 5, 2016 |
Hilarious, warm and educational. ( )
  Beholderess | Dec 20, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gerald Durrellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lagerwall, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, RalphIllustrator & coversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kenneth Smith In memory of Fons, False Teeth, and Flying Mice
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The Cross River picks its way down from the mountains of the Cameroons, until it runs sprawling and glittering into the great bowl of forest land around Mamfe.
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Travel to the wilds of Cameroon with the conservationist whose work inspired Masterpiece production The Durrells in Corfu on public television. In 1949, Gerald Durrell embarks with fellow zoologist Kenneth Smith on an expedition to collect rare animals in the British Cameroons in West Central Africa. There, he meets the Nero-like local ruler, the Fon of Bafut, who likes a man who can hold his liquor--will Durrell be able to get on his good side?   In this unique memoir, set off on a journey with the famed British naturalist's group of hunters and his pack of motley hunting dogs as they encounter an array of exotic creatures, including flying mice, booming squirrels, a frog with a mysterious coat of hair, and teacup-size monkeys; and witness the joys and problems of collecting, keeping, and transporting wild animals from Africa to England.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author's estate.  

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Book description
Gerald Durrell describes his adventures on a collecting trip in the Cameroons in the late 1940s. The animals he finds and the colourful human residents of Bafut are described with affection and humour.
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