Ila France Porcher

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Introduction I had been a wildlife artist all my life when I first encountered sharks. After observing bears, raccoons, cougars, and the other large mammals of North America, I was not expecting to see much of interest in such an ancient line of animals, but was intrigued to find strong signs that they were using cognition in their daily lives, and were more alert and quick thinking than people. Faced with an unanticipated richness of community into which the sharks had accepted me, I hung out with them for years, writing down everything that they did, everything that happened, following the precepts of cognitive ethology. It was they who convinced me that animals have unknown capacities, understanding, and intelligence, that has been overlooked for too long, in this world that exploits them. And when they were finned, I wrote down their story. Since then, I find that I have a wealth of information to share about other species too--their intelligence, their spirit, their emotional responses, and their unanticipated ways. Now that I know how rare such accounts are, I am preparing the rest of my material, much of it on birds, for publication in future books.