Eric Dinerstein entered college with a goal: filmmaking. He enrolled in the film school at Northwestern University. Evanston, Illinois. Perhaps he dreamed of Hollywood, but no Hollywood fantasy could match his adventures since.
During my sophomore year…friends talked me into moving to a farmhouse set on 250- acres of woods, abandoned pastures, and swamp… While wandering along a stream, I accidentally spooked a sharp-billed bird that squawked in indigation and flew off… I did observe the escapee long enough to identify it in my field guide as a little green heron Ia most accurate name, says a colleague, because it sports so little green in its plumage.)… Every new species of bird and wildflower was a revelation, as if I were actually the first naturalist to find it…
I began to dream of the glorious life of a field biologist, while filmmaking seemed less appealing by the moment. The most talented graduates of my program at Northwestern had just been hired to shoot a commercial for a lightbulb factory.
Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations is Eric’s adventure tales with tigers, bats, hippopotamuses, African wild dogs, snow leopards, American bison, and more. He’s not only an outstanding wildlife biologist/conservationist, but he’s a great writer with an outstanding sense of humor.
More about Eric Dinerstien and his books later, but I’ll end this post with a quotation from early his career, arriving to study tigers in Nepal:
But on this night, my tent mate was Surya Sharma, a studious, high–caste Brahmin in his early twenties and the son of a famous Nepalese judge. As we were drifting off to sleep, the sound of loud chewing and lip smacking stirred us awake. Surya peered through the insect netting. He reached over and clutched my arm. “Rhinos!” he whispered fearfully, using the English rather than the Nepali word (gaida), not wanting to gamble our lives on my Nepali vocabulary. We had been warned earlier that rhinos routinely trample and kill several tourists each year. I peeked through the fly mesh. Surya’s grip tightened. I saw an enormous greater one-horned female rhinocerous accompanied by a calf. Eventually they wandered off, but the interlopers left a lasting impression on both of us. For me, it was the first face-to-face experience with a creature I would eventually devote years of my life to conserving.
For Surya, it was the abrupt end of tenure as a Peace Corps language teacher. When our program was over, he went straight to law school.