Writer and intrepid traveller launches new book exploring the Amazon rainforest

Writer and intrepid traveller launches new book exploring the Amazon rainforest
Brendan Rees

Travelling has always given Anthony Ham a sense of purpose.

Since leaving his former career as a refugee lawyer to become a writer and photographer more than two decades ago, the West Melbourne resident has explored some of the world’s wildest places in search of stories.

He got his big break writing travel guides for Lonely Planet in 1998, and since then, he has not looked back.

“Some of my happiest memories are the nights spent around desert campfires with the San, Tuareg, or Warlpiri people deep in the deserts of Africa or Australia,” he told North West City News.

“But I’ve been very fortunate to have so many wonderful experiences, I couldn’t possibly choose one.”


He has published countless articles about conservation, wildlife, and current affairs for magazines and newspapers, most of which have appeared in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Lonely Planet magazine.


“My first job for Lonely Planet was a trip to Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Sudan for the Africa guide. I loved every minute of it, and fell irretrievably in love with the Sahara,” he said.

But while many would envy Anthony’s lifestyle, travelling to some of the most dangerous countries has come with its risks.  

“I have been arrested in Iran, held up at knifepoint in Cameroon, have narrowly missed being kidnapped by al-Qaeda near Timbuktu, and had an uncomfortably close encounter with a lion in the Kalahari in Botswana.”

But that hasn’t perturbed him as he strongly believed in the power of the written word.

Today, he has launched his second book called The Man Who Loved Pink Dolphins, which documents the story of Christopher Clark who has spent his life helping to save a pristine corner of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. 

The book, which was released in August, was a COVID-19 lockdown project in early 2020 after Anthony visited the Amazon in 2018.

“Chris was remarkably driven, a flawed hero, and he spent 30 years of his life trying to save a remote corner of the Brazilian Amazon – the forest, its people, and its wildlife,” he said.

“There were dangerous moments, numerous death threats, tragedies, and moments of great humour. All I had to do was write it down.”

“I think we’re all exhausted by the weight of the bigger issues – COVID, climate change, extinction, and so on. I hope that, above all, this book is just enjoyable – you can read this book simply as a great story,” he said.

Anthony said for those interested in the larger story of the Amazon and its future, the book had plenty to say.

“Some of it is depressing, but Chris Clark’s story is also a very human story of hope. These are the two things I strive for and think we need at this point in our history: a good story and hope in difficult times.” •


Caption: Anthony Ham.

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