NICOL From the Roof of Africa.


UGS : 0196899 Catégories : ,

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Réf. Biblethiophile

Réf. Pankhurst Partie

Réf. Pankhurst Page


Clive Nicol is the tough-minded and toughtongued young Welsh-Canadian game warden who was hired by the Imperial Ethiopian Government and sent into the remote, breath-takingly beautiful, primitively feudal Simien highlands of Ethiopia to found a national park and, while he was about it, to save from extinc­tion a rare and endangered beast called the Walia ibex.

For two incredible years he tried to cope with his monumental assignment amongst the proud and fierce hill tribesmen whose society was as ancient as the Old Testament, and for whom the “conservation” desired by Addis Ababa meant only an abridgment of time-honoured freedom to hunt what they chose, to farm anywhere and everywhere.

This is how Nicol persevered, fascinated by the challenge. Each day brought new threats to the creation of the park—violence, bribery, the involved politics of the high hills and the rising anger of the tribesmen, who resented their land being taken by the government to make a place for the animals.

Nicol’s book brings alive two years of nonstop adventure. He discovers and tries to apprehend a dealer in illegal skins. He is attacked in the night by unknown assailants armed with iron-tipped Ethiopian fighting sticks—and makes good use of the karate he

has assiduously practised. He builds a home for his wife and two children—by hand and with materials hauled in on the backs of men and mules. He drives to a village to bring out two of his drivers, who have knifed a villager to death and who are faced with an armed lynch mob. He incurs the enmity of a Holy man whose son he has prevented from destroy­ing the forest. He first asks for, then fights and schemes for, the help, the funds, the road he needs to create a functioning national park.

All this in a primeval landscape of dazzling waterfalls, mist-shrouded mountains, and ex­otic wildlife; all this, in the hands of a natural-born storyteller who is engagingly open, straight-forward, and unsentimental in his approach to men and to nature. The result is a book as enthralling as it is informative: a vivid portrayal of a far country almost un­known to the outside world.

Before going into the Simien, Clive Nicol took part in expeditions to the Hudson Bay Islands and up into the Arctic Circle, sponsored by the Arctic Institute of North America. He also spent three years working with the Arctic Biological Station of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, and he has worked with Japanese whalers off both the east and west coasts of Canada and with Eskimos on Baffin Island. He is now working for the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, and is a member of a team that hopes to aid in the preservation of the mighty rivers of the Mackenzie and Yukon districts.