Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wildlife Conservationist Joan Root shot to death

Wildlife Conservationist Joan Root shot to death

By MARC LACEY

Published: January 17, 2006

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 16 - Joan Root, an animal lover and conservationist who collaborated with her husband, Alan, on a series of wildlife documentaries in the 1970's, was killed Friday in Naivasha, Kenya. She was 69.

Mary Ellen Mark

Joan Root with a caracal, a wildcat, in Naivasha, Kenya, in 1982.

Ms. Root was shot to death by assailants who invaded her lakefront farmhouse, the police said. Two men were arrested but the motive remains unknown, officials said.

Ms. Root was an active conservationist, combating illegal fishing on the lake in recent years. Her 88-acre property was a refuge for orphaned animals, including an aardvark, a hippo and an African porcupine that would shake its quills on her command. She once slept with a caracal, a wildcat, to get it used to humans and make it easier to capture on film.

Joan Thorpe, the daughter of a British coffee farmer, was born in Nairobi. She married Mr. Root, an amateur filmmaker, in 1961. Before they divorced in 1981, they collaborated on a variety of attention-getting nature films. "Mysterious Castles of Clay," narrated by Orson Welles, showed the inner workings of a termite mound. It was nominated for an Oscar in 1978. Other films included "Balloon Safari" in 1976 and "Lights, Action, Africa" in 1980.

The couple used a hot-air balloon for some of their filming, capturing the vast savannahs of the Masai Mara Game Reserve and ascending over Mount Kilimanjaro.

In "Secrets of the African Baobab," they put a camera inside a hornbill's nest and waited two years for the birds to return.

For the film about termites, they trained their lens on a termite mound and waited 30 days for the alates, the winged stage of the termite life cycle, to emerge.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/17/international/17root.html

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 150 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625

813.920.4130 fax 885.4457 cell 493.4564

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Meet our recent mountain lion cub rescues:

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/rescuenewscubs.htm

No comments: