David Attenborough went to Paraguay to find armadillos but he encountered many other animals-the smallest bird in the world, the exquisite humming bird, and one of the largest, the ostrich-like rhea; jabiru storks, toucans, hang-nests and oven birds; turtles, coatimundi and a maned wolf. He travelled by boat up a small, tortuous river into the far interior; he met Indian tribesmen, lone ranchers and the Paraguayans who played to him their haunting guitar and harp music; he went to the plain lands of the vast cattle-ranching estates, and he rode by horseback into the harsh, parched, inhospitable country of the Gran Chaco. In this book he tells, with lively humour and evocative descriptive writing, the full story of his remarkable experiences on the four months’ journey-the luxury voyage that ended only too quickly; the blizzards of butterflies that made such a deep impression on him; the mysterious disappearance of two armadillos; the incredible sight of a unique herd of capybara; the crazy purchase of equipment for his expedition to the Chaco; the mad chase following the report of a captive giant armadillo; the weeks spent in the company of a roguish, immensely likeable jaguar-hunter and his pack of hounds; the incident when four drunken Indians had to be drugged to put them, and the expedition, out of harm’s way. These and many other stories make Zoo Quest in Paraguay an exceedingly entertaining book as well as an absorbing account of a journey undertaken for B.B.C. Television not only to capture and film animals but to record the way of life of a little known country in the depth of South America. It was an adventurous ‘Zoo Quest’ and is undoubtedly David Attenborough’s best book to date.
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