Tales Of A Naturalist by Pyotr Manteufel

In this post, we will see the book Tales Of A Naturalist by Pyotr Manteufel.

About the book

There are different ways of loving nature.
One might love nature because it is generally accepted to love it and to say, “Look how beautiful,” while actually feeling nothing: neither the beauty of the woods nor the charm of a bird’s song. This kind of love does not count.
One may love nature with the sincere love of an artist, inquisitively, attempting to unravel her mysteries.
And finally, one may love nature with the demanding love of a master who sees its beauty, strives to know it, and at the same time learns to manage it, transform and multiply its riches. Such is how the author of this book, Professor Pyotr Manteufel
(1883-1960), loved nature.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time with him in the woods
as a young girl. I remember at the time it seemed to me that he had not the ordinary five human senses, but many more. When the enormous, broad-shouldered man strolled through the woods, his eyes, keen as a wise bird’s, saw somehow better than those of his young pupils. He heard every crackle and rustle, he absorbed his surroundings into himself. He moved in long, noiseless strides, whistling to the birds, and they would answer him.
But the most interesting came later—he would explain every detail and every phenomenon to us, would draw conclusions and arrive at broad generalisations.
Contemplation—observation—experimentation. Such was the slogan of this scholar. And this path of research extends through all the stories collected under the title Tales of a Naturalist. These are not mere “sportsman’s sketches”. These are the tales of a great scholar who does not simply write entertaining stories about animals, but actually brings the reader to certain conclusions. This book contains but a portion of his tales, for they are many indeed.
For all seventy-seven years of the scholar’s life (with the excep­tion of those during the First World War and his service in the Red Army in 1921-22) were devoted to his beloved science. Manteufel traveled extensively throughout the country, from northern Yakutia to southern Uzbekistan, from Siberia to Kazakhstan. But one can hardly begin to name all the places he visited.
Manteufel’s work in science began early in life. He was the pupil of such outstanding Soviet scholars as Williams and Menzbir. Manteufel conducted an abundance of studies, many of which received wide recognition: the breeding of sables in captivity, the study of hare and marten communities, daring experiments in the acclimatization of valuable furbearing animals, to name but a few. In these studies Manteufel used the zoo, where he headed the science department for fourteen years, expeditions, and, finally,
the Soviet Union’s numerous wildlife reserves.
In his work Manteufel always observed the animal in relation
to its environment, he studied the flora, fauna, and soil, for only under these conditions is it possible to know the biology of a given animal. Pyotr Manteufel must also be recognized as an educator and a counselor to young people. He taught at many institutions of learning, and a number of his pupils—now scholars themselves— embarked on their path toward science in childhood in the Moscow Zoo’s club for junior biologists, founded by Manteufel.
He gave this country more than one thousand gamekeepers and fur-farmers during his teaching years at the institute of fur-breed­ ing, where he headed the department of systematization and bio­-technology—a young and fascinating science. Manteufel taught young people not only biology and his scientific methods; he taught them love for their homeland, perseverance, accuracy in observa­tion, a sense of friendship and comradery, courage and stamina.
Such was the man who wrote this book—a great scholar and a man with a great heart. — Yelizaveta Uspenskaya

The book was translated from Russian and was illustrated by . The book was published in  by Publishers.

Translated by Linda Noble
Designed by Georgi Nikolsky

All credits to Guptaji.

You can get the book here.

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