May 31, 2014

Queen of Shaba

by Joy Adamson

Joy Adamson is famous for the lioness she raised and then released into the wild, recounted in Born Free (I can't believe I haven't written about that book yet). She also raised and rehabilitated into the wild a female cheetah. Then determined to do the same with a leopard. It took her some time to find an orphaned leopard cub, but she did and named it Penny. The leopard was a bit different from the lions and cheetah; it wasn't quite as affectionate. This combined with Adamson's very matter-of-fact writing style makes it a bit of dry reading but I was intrigued regardless, if just for the novelty of what she was trying to do. The book is a very straightforward account of how Adamson raised the leopard, along with some glimpses into the difficulties of living in the bush and dealing with various problems- shortage of supplies, accidents, the local wildlife and dishonest (or disgruntled?) employees. I found most interesting reading about how she taught the leopard to hunt. With all the wild cats Adamson considered it a success when the female could live on its own, mated with wild males and raised her own cubs. In each instance the grown female brought her cubs back to Adamson's camp, showing trust and affection even after living in a wild state. This still amazes me.

Rating: 3/5    180 pages, 1980


  1. That's amazing that they brought back their cubs to Adamson. She must have felt so proud when that happened.

  2. It was a really emotional moment. Especially because the leopard never seemed as affectionate as the lioness she first raised (the famous Elsa).


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