Briza Authors

At Briza, our authors are our pride! They are specialists in their fields and above all great writers, producing excellent books which educate us and lead us to a greater understanding of our world.

The Bigger Picture

By Dr Lynn Hurry

The co-evolution of species in ecosystems has produced a level of dependence between them that has persisted over time. So much so that around us everywhere there exists examples of animal species that live close to each other “making life happen.”

Buffalo and Oxpecker in Symbiotic Relationship
Buffalo and Oxpecker in Symbiotic Relationship

Renowned wildlife writer Dr Lynn Hurry has spent his life researching ways in which animal species communicate with their environments and with each other.

This knowledge and research have been lovingly poured into his beautiful book Abygale Aardvark and her Wildlife Friends. In this book, the fictional character Abygale Aardvark is a gentle creature who invites young minds to page through her book – and as they do so she introduces them to her wildlife friends and the stories they tell as they “work together for a better life”

In a world where people are often more separated than together, the lessons drawn in Abygale’s book are there for the taking. And so it’s hoped that whoever reads this book or who, perhaps, helps with the reading of the book, will stop to think about the messages it contains – how can we all work together for a better life?

The Elephant and the Tiny Fig Wasp

Did you know that the tiny fig-tree wasp, an insect so small that it can fit through the eye of a darning needle, links with the African elephant as part of the life cycle of the gigantic broom-cluster fig tree?

It’s true.

The tiny fig-tree wasp pollinates the flowers of the broom-cluster fig. This enables fruit to form and to develop seeds.

The Tiny Fig Wasp
The Tiny Fig Wasp
Broom-cluster Fig (Ficus-Sur) Fruits
Broom-cluster Fig (Ficus-Sur) Fruits

When the fruit ripens and falls to the ground, it’s snack time for the elephants.

And so, it goes that the broom-cluster fig seeds contained in the elephant dung are spread over large areas. Where growing conditions are good, for example on the banks of rivers, the seeds may germinate and these magnificent trees may grow.

The intertwined lives of fig-tree wasps and elephants are just one enticing story in Lynn’s beautifully illustrated book.

Elephants and the Broom-cluster Fig

Elephants travel far and wide, which means their dung is responsible for much of the thriving biodiversity in their habitat. Scientists have found that African savanna elephants may carry seeds for up to 65 kilometres, which is 30 times further than savanna birds. Plus, elephant dung carries more seeds than any other animal. A single elephant can deposit as many as 3,200 seeds every day.

Elephants are therefore critical for maintaining the integrity of the savanna ecosystem.

Beyond the pages of the fig-tree story, Abygale’s book is a treasure trove of accounts of animals of different species working together “to make life happen.”  Accounts of zebras and wildebeest, aardvarks and aardwolf, baboons and impala, tiny termites and fruit-eating birds, dwarf mongoose and their feathered friends are among the stories told.

The critical need to learn about Nature

Learning takes place by reading and by reading about the workings of nature, readers are gently moved onto positive conservation thoughts and actions. Who knows what positive effect Abygale’s book will have on how readers, young and old, may respond.

If it is only to read more about the ecological world in which we all live, it would be success in itself but, for Abygale, a significant outcome would be that readers turn to take the conservation road, now well sign-posted before them.

Dr Lynn Hurry is the author of Abygale Aarvark and her Wildlife Friends and its Afrikaans counterpart, Evie Erdvark en haar Natuurvriende.

Evie Abygale
Evie Erdvark / Abygale Aardvark Books

Attie Snyman

Briza Publications author Attie Snyman is a former teacher, lecturer, and producer of television series, documentary films, and corporate video programs for the private sector. He currently writes full time. Attie grew up on the farm Koedoeskop in the Thabazimbi area,...

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Rolf Becker

Briza Publications author Rolf Becker graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as a Master of Science and PhD in Biochemistry. He was Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Limpopo for 20 years, while also furthering his...

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Alma Möller

Briza Publications author Alma Möller graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Botany and Genetics, and a Master of Science in Entomology, after obtaining a postgraduate certificate in Electron Microscopy. She worked at the University of Limpopo as Electron...

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CJ Cilliers

Author CJ Cilliers is a retired researcher with a PhD in entomology. She is known for her research on the biological control of insects pests and aquatic weeds, implementing biological control and integrated pest and weed management in South Africa and elsewhere. This...

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CE van Ginkel

Author CE van Ginkel is a freshwater scientist, with a PhD in botany. As a special scientist in the then Department of Water Affairs, she practised aquatic science over several decades throughout South Africa. She was the coordinator of the National Eutrophication...

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