National Geographic : 1993 Aug
On Assignment arly on, naturalist GEORGE B. SCHALLER set his sights on his life's work. As a boy he roamed the countryside, collecting creatures for his own mini-zoo. As a man he has roamed the world, often with his family, to work for wildlife conservation. He has stud ied gorillas in Zaire, tigers in India, jaguars in Brazil, and pandas in China. "The more rare and remote a species," he says, "the greater the challenge to become the chronicler of its life." In Tibet's isolated Chang Tang region (above), George and his wife, Kay, endured tent living for months, but says Kay, "We can hardly wait to go back to continue our research." "No conservation task is ever completed," adds Schaller, who returns to the Chang Tang this fall. His photographs are an invaluable tool in his work. He thinks of them as forging a bond between the viewer and the subject: "Pen and camera are potent weapons against oblivion, helping species to sur vive-or serving as memorials." Schaller has described his work in ten books, including National Book Award winner The Serengeti Lion, The Year of the Gorilla, Stones of Silence, and most recently The Last Panda. It was too warm for ice skating in Stockholm, and Assistant Editor DON BELT, at center, was about to learn something about Swedes. For six hours he sliced across the melt ing surface of Lake Malaren with a group of Swedish skaters. Then the ice roared and split, swallowing Bjorn Nils son, at right. Rolf Sva lange, at left, hurried Don and the others to shore while Bjirn struggled onto firmer ice. He emerged: bloodied, dripping and completely pre pared. Bjorn peeled off his sopping red cover alls and from his back pack produced a plastic bag containing an iden tical dry suit. Another bag carried fuel for an impromptu fire that warmed him as he dressed. The last sack held Bjorn's cellular phone. "You guys plan for everything, don't you?" Don asked. "Welcome to Sweden," Rolf said. Don's own immersion-in writ ing-came at the University of South Carolina, where he studied under poet James Dickey. Keeping a journal while traveling in Central America "sparked my career," Don says. "I realized that going places, and writing about them, was what I wanted to do when I grew up." HENRIKTHORNQVIST NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLY BY THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,1145 17THST. N.W ., WASHINGTON, D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O . BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D.C. 20013.