University of Alberta Press

Book details

Publication date: April 2008
Features: B&W photographs, map, glossary
Series: Wayfarer
Keywords: Conservation;Africa;Memoir;Adventure Travel
Subject(s): MEDICAL / Veterinary Medicine / General, Conservation;Africa;Memoir;Adventure Travel, NATURE / Animals / Wildlife, Travel, Fauna, Biography
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Jerry Haigh. Jerry Haigh worked in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon until his retirement in 2008. He and his wife, Jo, lived and worked in Africa for 10 years, where he developed his skills with wildlife.

Jane Goodall.

"Haigh's writing style is informative and entertaining all in the same breath. His stories weave animal history and legend together with his own experiences to create a vivid picture of the wildlife situation in Africa.... While the title of the book may lead you to believe it is just about the king of the jungle, the cast of animal characters is quite varied. Haigh has tended to rhinos, elephants, wild dogs, hyenas, chimpanzees, cattle, and many other creatures, both large and small in the wilds of Africa. The Trouble with Lions gives you a closer look at the wild animals that once roamed free and plentiful across a continent; you'll find no better guide than Dr. Jerry Haigh." Carmen Klassen, The StarPhoenix, June 28, 2008


"Going on safari in Africa is something most people may have on their bucket list. In his memoir of his life and work while living in Africa, author Jerry High, a Glasgow-schooled veterinarian takes the reader through Kenya Now and Then (1965-1975), Forested Africa and the Bushmeat Crisis (1995-2007), The Trouble with Lions (1997), and On the Ground in Uganda (2002-2007). Thoughtfully written and including captivating photos; will delight readers. Recommended for adult readers." Tonya Thul-Theis, Reviewer's Bookwatch, October 2008


"Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone who makes a distant part of the world, or a different way or life, make sense to you for the first time? Reading Jerry Haigh's 'The Trouble With Lions' is like that. There are many good story tellers out there, and Haigh is one of them. But here's the big difference--he has decades of unique, fascinating experience to back it up. He's a wildlife veterinarian, and his tales of treating lions, and rhinos, and all sorts of other animals in Africa are fascinating--they're like James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small,' except it's All Creatures Great and Greater. But as fun, and often funny, as Haigh's tales are, the real value of 'The Trouble With Lions' lies in the way he sees the world, and the ways in which humans relate to each other and to the wildlife and nature around them. This isn't just a book about one man's experiences. It's a story about Africa, and its people, and its wildlife, and the dramatic, often heartbreaking changes all three have experienced over the last 4 decades. 'The Trouble With Lions' is an excellent book for lovers of Africa, and adventure, and a good tale well told. But it will also provide valuable context and open readers' eyes to the deep connections between animals and nature and current events--like the ongoing conflict in the Congo, and last year's post-election violence in Kenya. Highly recommended." Thomas Hayden, San Francisco, CA, December 23, 2008


"Fascinating, educational, funny and beautifully illustrated, this book gives us a glimpse of the life of a veterinarian working in modern-day Africa. Lions, rhinos and chimpanzees are among the animals Dr. Haigh treats and they are all sadly under great stress and pressure as their natural habitat slowly disappears." Juror, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2008


"Jerry Haigh takes us into the world of rhinos and lions in Africa and describes his adventures with clear insight and compassion." Juror, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2008


"This is a beautifully told, rich account of another landscape, another country; Jerry Haigh weaves an endlessly complex and layered tale of humans and animals." Juror, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2008


"The Trouble with Lions chronicles the adventures of a veterinarian in Africa, escorting us far off the beaten path of nature documentaries and tourist safaris, ultimately breaking our hearts with the overwhelming evidence that Africa`s great cavalcade of beasts and wild places will disappear in our lifetime." Juror, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2008


"The Trouble with Lions, Jerry Haigh`s fast-paced memoir of his years practicing wild-animal medicine in the jungles and plains of Africa, is as disturbing as it is fascinating: a rare glimpse into a little-known and quickly vanishing world." Juror, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 2008


"Haigh (veterinary medicine, U. of Saskatchewan), a hearty type with few complaints about living rough alongside his patients, explains the pressures of keeping animals alive and at peace with the humans around them, a difficult task at best and often heartbreaking. He describes preservation efforts and how they apply to elephants, rhinos, painted dogs, and the various species dubbed `bushmeat.` He explores the national park system set up to keep animals and humans as happy and well-fed as possible, the trouble with well-meaning amateurs, and the need for continuous education about some of the most fascinating creatures in the world." SciTech Book News, December 2008


"He has wrestled rhinos, elephants and lions in Africa, studied seals on Sable Island, tested reindeer in Mongolia and carried out research work on bison, deer, elk and polar bears in Canada. He continues to work on the front lines of what he calls 'the longest running wars on the planet – the war between wild animals and humans.' ... Haigh ... was veterinarian at the Saskatoon Zoo for 16 years, and has been a member of the faculty of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine since 1975. ... In February 2008, Haigh and his wife took their sixth group of ten students to Uganda. A total of 59 students have participated since he set up the program in 2003. Several students from Africa also take the course concurrently and this is leading to ongoing cross-cultural professional association." Robert White, The Neighbourhood Express, March 30, 2008


"Of the 60 authors nominated for 2008, I'm willing to wager he's the only one that's ever performed an enema on a rhino. The incident isn't recounted in Jerry Haigh's The Trouble with Lions, which was nominated in the Nonfiction and Saskatoon Book categories. Instead it was included in his first book about his four decades working as a wildlife vet in Africa called Wrestling with Rhinos. Lions, however, has its share of fascinating stories and insights into a continent that, as the cradle of humanity and home to all manner of exotic animal species, exerts a strong hold on our imagination." Gregory Beatty, Planet S, December 4, 2008


"Jerry Haigh has spent more than 40 years in Africa, in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, DRC and Tanzania. As with many vets in Africa, he became involved with treating the problems of wild animals, and was among the first to perfect the art of capturing and translocating animals with drugs rather than with a pole and a rope. He started as an intern at the Kabete Vet Lab, and then spent five years as the Government vet in Meru, before starting a private practice in Nanyuki. Along with the normal cats, dogs, parrots, horses and cattle, his patients also included rhino, chimpanzees, roan antelope, elephants, zebras, warthogs, birds, and Uganda kob. However, he regards one animal as being a symbol of what is happening to wildlife in Africa, and that is the lion. The decline of lion numbers reflects the way things have changed and are changing for all wildlife in Africa, and are symbolic of all wildlife species, not only in Africa, but worldwide. After his spell in Kenya, he and his family moved to Canada, but he was soon back, putting tracking collars on forest elephants in Cameroon. Here he became aware of the enormity of the horrendous bush meat problem (more than 5 million tons a year, according to 2004 figures), and the problems of illegal logging and habitat destruction. He studied the effects of the bushmeat trade, and was not alone in concluding that SARS, HIV, Ebola and Marburg's disease in humans are directly related to eating or handling animal (especially primate) meat. Dr Haigh also spent time working with rare white rhinos in South Africa, and African wild dogs in Namibia and Botswana. He instigated a programme of taking Canadian vet students to Uganda where they received far more hands-on experience than they ever could at home. But throughout his travels he has continued to learn more about lions--distribution, traditions, superstitions, witchcraft, the history of stock attacks--and has examined in great detail the problem of declining lion numbers. Having worked with other vets and wildlife experts all over the continent, such as Paul Sayer, Dieter Rottcher, Toni Harthoorn, Gladys Kalema, Laurence Frank, and Annie Olive-Krona, Dr Haigh is well informed on all matters concerning wildlife, but particularly with the subject of people living alongside lions. This is a well-written book, full of interesting facts and entertaining people." Jean Hartley, ViewFinders Ltd


"I have heard Dr Haigh lecture several times; he is always entertaining, and my hope was that his writing would be equally enjoyable. I was not disappointed.... Haigh's discussion of the plight of the African lion, and his use of the lion as a symbol for the precarious future for Africa's wildlife, is very insightful. A central theme throughout the book is the complex relationships between humans, their livestock, and the Wildlife.... I would recommend The Trouble with Lions for an entertaining but worthwhile read from one of the pioneers of wildlife veterinary medicine. It would make a great companion on a long flight, or a long layover (to Africa, perhaps?), or for someone wrapped up in front of the fire on a cold, prairie-winter's night dreaming of warm, exotic locales." Jonathan Mark Sleeman, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Journal of Wildlife Diseases, April 2009


"Jerry Haigh has written a book that is both an interesting read as well as being informative and thought provoking. He manages to balance his own personal, often funny anecdotes of just being a vet and all the challenges that that entails with the more serious subject of wildlife conservation and the problems and conflicts that face local people as well as the authorities and generally puts forward a good unbiased viewpoint. Before reading this book, I had no idea how complex the situation is. I also found it interesting to see how much things have changed over the many years that Jerry has been working with wildlife and how much of a trailblazer he was in his early years of treating and translocating animals. It is all written in an easy conversational style - even though he goes off at a tanget sometimes - with lots of personal touches. I noticed, for example, that when particular incidents are described, they are often associated with what he had to eat at the time! Well worth reading." Frances M. Rees, January 26, 2009


"From North American Bison to African Rhino, this book gives the reader an insight into what is happening in today's African wildlife and human conflict from a veterinarian's perspective. Dr Haigh brings us along on his journey to Africa with Canadian Veterinary students." Pauline Gaudette, December 29, 2008


"This is a book that will appeal to all those, whether veterinarians or not, with a concern for wildlife conservation, and draws on the author's considerable experience of the issues involved while working in sub-Saharan Africa. It is prefaced by an introduction from the world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall." Roland Minor, Veterinary Record, Janaury 23, 2010 [Full review at doi: 10.1136/vr.c362]

ISBNs: 9780888645036 978-0-88864-503-6 Title: the trouble with lions