05 February 2007

Roadkill Australia

Last July I caught up with someone I haven't seen in nearly 30 years. Len Zell was then a nature photo­grapher and biologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, north of where I live now. He is now a photographer and author, with a string of credits for his field research and ecotourism work. Len was one of the lecturers on board the Kimberley cruise boat. Like me, Len had moved away from Townsville some years ago to pursue his career interests. Turns out he was moving back to Townsville in September. In December I was invited to attend the launch of Len’s latest book, Roadkill Australia. The launch was fun, and as I suspected, several people there remem­bered me from 30 years ago, so we had a pleasant catch-up session over the champagne. Len had chosen his "launchers" well. One is a local media personality who did a hilarious introduction, insulting the book and half the audience, to everyone's delight. The other is a professor of marine biology at the local university, who also did a good job of the local jokes and references to Len's life, starting from the days when we had all met each other in 1974 or so, there in Townsville. The book is an interesting mixture of biological information, somewhat tongue-in-cheek recipes for cooking freshly-killed critters ("carefully remove the gravel..."), along with health warnings ("may contain parasites and be unsanitary"), anecdotes about the author's experiences, photos of dead animals, and other stuff. Find it on http://roadkillaustralia.com/.