Good Reading : July 2011
www.goodreadingmagazine.com good reading july 2011 26 COFFEE TABLE 1 The lives of animals in the wild are often depicted as unending struggles for survival. But as The exultant ark: a pictorial tour of animal pleasure shows, animals also spend a lot of time just having fun. animals have traditionally been thought of as little more than biological units bent on reproducing -- and surviving long enough to reproduce. Biologist Jonathan Balcombe convincingly argues, however, that pleasure is vitally important to the lives of many animals. He investigates a wide range of activities that animals engage in -- such as playing, eating, touching, and seeking comfort, love and companionship -- and draws upon scientific evidence and informed anecdotal accounts to show that these behaviours can be viewed as attempts to obtain pleasure.The dozens of fabulous photographs alone -- which include an Atlantic grey seal cavorting in the surf on the UK coast, an elk poking out its tongue to catch snowflakes, one deer licking another, a hoary mar mot savouring the fragrance of its next meal of flowers, or a baby bonobo leaping into the outstretched arms of its mother -- will persuade you that, just like us, animals are born pleasure seekers. ANIMAL ANTICS aSiaTic lion (Panthera leo persica), gir national Forest Park, gujarat, india. Photo: Steve mandel. ring-Tailed lemur (lemur catta), Berenty reserve, madagascar. Photo: Steve mandel.