Cover of 'Where Have All the Animals Gone?: My Travels with Karl Ammann'. Photo: Karl AmmannBy Shreya Dasgupta
8 February 2016

( – In Where Have All the Animals Gone?: My Travels with Karl Ammann, author and natural historian Dale Peterson recounts his adventures with Karl Ammann, an eccentric award-winning wildlife photographer, as they travel across several countries in Africa and Asia. Peterson’s book is a witty, humorous, and sometimes gut-wrenching look into how human presence and consumption is driving the disappearance of wildlife.

Peterson has divided his book into three fast-paced parts. In the first part, he travels with Ammann to remote parts of Central Africa — often in helicopters or pickup trucks — meeting several interesting people on the way, including quirky scientists and egotistic local leaders.

In the opening chapters, he visits bushmeat markets and restaurants, and describes hunters bringing in boatloads of fresh and smoked meat of bats, birds, crocodiles, monkeys, and antelopes. Peterson introduces the readers to Ammann’s multi-dimensional personality in the first part, painting him as a tenacious, cheeky individual who can slickly negotiate complex, even dangerous, situations. […]

“This book is about traveling through a vanishing world, saying good-bye to biodiversity, watching as the human presence mushrooms and pushes the planet’s wild animals and wild habitats away and over the edge,” Karl Ammann writes in the book’s afterword. “It’s not the end of the world. It is the end of the wild.”

“Every now and then I meet a kindred soul and we compare notes and agree on the status quo and the cause and effect,” he adds. “Even Dale for the most part lacked knowledge of what it all looked like ten or twenty years ago, making it challenging to compare past and present, and to imagine what it will look like in the future.”

In an interview with Mongabay, Peterson talks about how he turned several years of travels and adventures with Ammann into a gripping narrative of wildlife trafficking, bushmeat hunting, vanishing wildlife, and conservation.

An interview with Dale Peterson

[…] Mongabay: What was the most important lesson that you learned from Karl and other experts during your journey?

Peterson: Things are a lot worse than people think. Conservation is losing the battle, explosive human population growth is winning, and we are entering a bleak period of human history that promises, unless radical changes are carried out, serious losses in biodiversity and the heritage of wilderness and wild animal species. [more]

‘Where Have All the Animals Gone?’ – a journey through Africa and Asia



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