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Best Animal Lover's Call to (Ideological) Arms 

Elephant Reflections by Karl Ammann and Dale Peterson

Swiss-born Genesis Award-winning wildlife photographer Karl Ammann began his career by snapping African cheetahs, then great apes. His admiration for the latter — and his horror at how many are slaughtered and sold for food — inspired Ammann to join forces with celebrated conservation writer Dale Peterson. Berkeley-based UC Press published their harrowing 2003 book Eating Apes as well as their latest collaboration, Elephant Reflections, which is hands down one of this year's most moving and beautiful volumes. Ammann's bold photographs of African elephants in the wild — tusks, trunks, tails, and those all-knowing eyes — accompany Peterson's impassioned, eloquent text about this "creature who quietly mocks our puny size and frantic chatter ... and who should, indeed, caution us, tell us to be careful, keep still, have respect." For zoophiles and conservationists it's a hefty, handsome coffee-table confection, but it's also much more than that. Ammann's pictures serve as what-we-might-lose elegies alongside Peterson's revelations about poaching and politics: Smoked elephant meat is a key part of the Central African Republic's economy, for instance; Zimbabwe's government regularly slaughters hundreds of elephants for feasts — and exchanges planeloads of ivory for Chinese guns and ammunition.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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