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African Wildlife: Endangered and Vulnerable Species

Jan 21- Feb 11, 2021

OSHER at Dartmouth Course

Did you know that the pangolin is the world's most trafficked animal that no one has ever heard of? How does charcoal harvesting and war threaten the wild gorilla population, which is now just over 1,000 individuals? The African wild dog, a.k.a. the "painted wolf," was once considered a pest and hunted mercilessly. Today, only about 5,000 African wild dogs remain. China banned the elephant ivory trade two years ago. How has this affected the demand for elephant ivory and the illegal poaching trade? And why were elephants in Botswana dying mysteriously by the hundreds this past spring and summer? This class will take a close look at four fascinating endangered and vulnerable species: elephants, pangolins, wild dogs, and mountain gorillas. We will explore how poaching, habitat loss, human-animal conflict, and even war have contributed to their endangerment. We will look at the successes and failures of current programs designed to protect these species. Join us as we present information via lectures, film clips, and guest speakers. We will provide a reading packet, links to relevant materials, and a list of recommended readings.

The Mighty Elephant: Past, Present and Future

Jan 15-Feb 5 2020

Photo Credit: Bonnie J. Fladung

I will be co-leading a course at OSHER at Dartmouth this winter with Daniel Hopkins of Grasstrack Safaris:


In 1930, as many as 10 million wild elephants roamed the African continent. But decades of poaching and conflict have decimated the African elephant population, leaving less than 415,000. In 2016, the IUCN reported that Africa's elephant population had seen its worst decline in 25 years.


This class will delve into the world of the mighty elephant. We will cover elephant anatomy and behavior, the history of big game hunting, the continued demand for ivory, and the dwindling geographic distribution. The three biggest threats are poaching for ivory, habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict.  We will explore the successes and failures of current programs. How have Namibia's conservancy programs led to the growth of desert elephant populations? What are the pros and cons of lifting the hunting ban in Botswana? Has China's ivory ban deterred demand and sales? Which elephant conservation organizations are implementing programs that work in the real world?


Join us as we examine the elephant in the room via lectures, film clips and guest speakers. We will provide a reading packet, links to relevant materials, and a list of recommended readings.

The Gem of Africa: A Cultural & Wildlife Safari through Botswana

Informational Presentation
Thursday, Jan 24, 2019
6:30 - 8 pm
Kilton Library, West Lebanon, NH


Botswana Culture & Wildlife Safari
Aug 28 - Sep 9 2019

Join Bonnie Fladung for this cultural and wildlife safari to Botswana. We'll travel to a remote San Bushmen village (which few tourists see) and spend 2 nights interacting with the villagers, learning about their customs, daily lives, and the challenges of living in the harsh Kalahari Desert.  We'll join them around their evening campfires and learn about the local environment on a bush walk. From here we'll travel to the Tsodilo Hills, a sacred place to the San Bushmen and one of the best sites for ancient Bushmen rock art.  Finally, you'll spend 6 nights camping in the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve.


View Complete Itinerary: Botswana Culture and Wildlife Safari

Botswana: Gem of Africa
Jan 16-Feb 6 2019

Photo Credit: Steven Stockhall

I will be co-leading a course at OSHER at Dartmouth this winter with Daniel Hopkins of Grasstrack Safaris:


How did this tiny landlocked country earn the nickname "Switzerland of Africa?" With its reputation for political stability and economic growth combined with natural beauty, it is considered one of Africa's wilderness treasures. 


We will explore: why Botswana is considered a role model for country success; the current economic environment; the history of the San people; the strict wildlife conservation methods that make it the last stronghold for a number of endangered bird and mammal species. Along the way, we will discover that Botswana is not without its challenges as we look at the marginalization of the bushmen by the diamond industry and the pharmaceutical companies. We will view film documentaries such as "Bushman's Secret" and read "Collector of Treasures" by Botswanan author Bessie Head.


Invited guests:

- Ambassador Thomas Hull, director of African Affairs at the USIA, will share his insights into what sets Botswana apart from other African nations.

- Jonathan Crewe, Leon Black Professor Emeritus of Shakespearean Studies at Dartmouth, will lead the book discussion. Born and raised in South Africa, he retains a strong interest in the cultures and literature of southern Africa.


African Roundtable: Focus on Wildlife
April 5 to May 3, 2018

I will be co-leading another OSHER class at Dartmouth College with Norman Miller (Professor Emeritus at the Geisel School of Medicine).

Join us for discussions with authors and scientists as they offer insights into their work in the field of animal research and conservation. Invited speakers include:
• Laurel Neme, a consultant in environmental and wildlife policy and natural resource management, is the author of “Animal Investigators” and “Orangutan Houdini.” Laurel will discuss how forensics are used to discourage poaching and wildlife trafficking.
• Dale Peterson, the biographer of and long-time collaborator with primatologist Jane Goodall, examines in sweeping detail the lives of her young assistants as they struggled under difficult and dangerous conditions. The “Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness” is written as an extended exercise in literary forensics, and also unveils for the first time a remarkable development in which researchers developed genuine personal friendships with chimpanzees.
• Daniel Otte, the world’s leading expert on grasshoppers and crickets, is also a wildlife illustrator (“The Safari Companion”). Daniel will talk about his newest book, “Limpopo River Tales” and discuss how he incorporated his field work into a book of stories for children.
• Guest speakers from the Dartmouth community will discuss current conservation efforts, fieldwork and data collection techniques, and the economics of wildlife trafficking.

United Nations Human Rights Workshop
September 21-22, 2017
Geneva Switzerland

See you there!

July 26, 2017
New England Author's Expo
Danvers, MA
Book Signing

On safari!!

March-April 2017
African Roundtable: Selected Topics from an Emerging Continent (OSHER at Dartmouth)

I will be co-leading a class at Dartmouth College with Norman Miller (Professor Emeritus at the Geisel School of Medicine).

Much of our fascination with Africa today starts with the human story, the evolution of our ancestors, the "invention" of medicine, art and religion, and the contemporary relations between humans, animals and their environment. Africa is also a complex 21st-century continent and our focus will include two sessions on modern politics and economic development including foreign aid issues.

Drawing on local expertise, the course co-directors have selected six specific themes that illustrate these universal topics: (1) African Prehistory and the Modern Fossil Discoveries in South Africa; (2) African Traditional Medicine and Cross Cultural Healing; (3) Indigenous Religion, Spiritism and Witchcraft, as seen in African art; (4) Contemporary Issues of African Wildlife and Conservation; (5) the Role of Foreign Aid and Non-Governmental Organizations; and (6) Key Political Trends in Today's Africa.

Invited guests include Dr. Jeremy DeSilva (Anthropology), Ambassador Roland Kuchel (Zambia and Eastern Europe), Dr. Nelson Kasfir (Political Science).

Meet me at the AWP Annual Conference & Bookfair!
February 8-11
Association of Writers and Writing Programs
Washington DC Convention Center & Washington Marriott Marquis

Boston Book Fair
Copley Plaza
Saturday Oct 15

I'll be signing books from 1:00-3:00 at the New Hampshire Writer's Project NHWP booth.

Stay tuned! On October 7th at 10:30 AM, I will be appearing on DCAT's CATV program "Off The Shelf." I am looking forward to meeting the host Veronica Andrews and talking about my latest books. ***********************************************************************
2016 New England Author's Expo

April 19, 2016 at 6:00 PM
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth Outing Club House
Hanover, NH