Jul 14, 2022 - News

"Crawdads" movie renews interest in author's anti-poaching past

Delia Owens

Delia Owens attends a "Where The Crawdads Sing" photo call last month in West Hollywood, California. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/FilmMagic

The upcoming premiere of a movie based on a popular novel is resurfacing questions about its author, a South Georgia native who is wanted for questioning in Zambia concerning a murder.

Driving the news: "Where the Crawdads Sing," based on Delia Owens' novel of the same title, hits theaters today. The movie was produced by Reese Witherspoon and features an original song by Taylor Swift.

Flashback: Owens grew up in Thomasville and met her former husband while attending the University of Georgia. The couple spent more than 20 years researching large mammals in Africa, according to her website.

  • In 2010, The New Yorker published a lengthy piece about the Owens' time on the continent. In it, they reported that Delia's then-husband, Mark, organized a band of scouts and used military-like tactics to track down and thwart poachers.
  • The article references an episode of the ABC news show "Turning Point" about the couple that aired in 1996 and showed the fatal shooting of an alleged poacher. The program did not indicate who was responsible.

The couple, who left Zambia following the incident and have not returned, are not accused of the killing and have denied any responsibility for it, a 2019 Slate article notes.

What we're watching: Owens' story has received sporadic attention. But a Zambian official told The Atlantic this week that Delia, Mark and Christopher Owens — Mark's son and Delia's stepson — are all still wanted for questioning in the case.


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