The Elephant Whisperer
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The Elephant Whisperer

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  3,112 ratings  ·  616 reviews
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa, his commonsense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival - notorious escape artists, they would all be killed if Lawrence wouldn't take them. He agreed, but before arrangements for the move could be co...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 12, 2012 Christina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
I'm starting to get bored with the various "whisperers." Especially since most of them don't do any actual whispering to the animals in question.

So I wish this book had a different title.

That aside, this is a fantastic book about some of nature's most beautiful and amazing animals. (I LOVE elephants!)

Lawrence Anthony runs a nature preserve in South Africa called Thula Thula. One day, he gets a call from someone offering him a herd of nine elephants for the preserve. The herd is apparently "rogue...more
If you are interested in animals, nature, true stories of incredible interactions between animals and humans and certain conservation issues that South Africa faces, this is a 10 star read. I read that the author of this book recently passed away and that the elephants he interacted with for many years instinctively traveled a very long way on foot over many, many miles to come and visit him at the place where he passed away.
Anthony does a magnificent job of sharing his story of settling a herd of seven wild elephants on his 5,000 acres of bush in Zululand, South Africa. I respect his decision to try to extend the reserve to include the neighboring tribal land so that a greater number of wild animals might live comfortably without interference. The elephants get the credit they deserve for being remarkably intelligent and resilient, despite extremely harsh treatment and bad memories early on. It is a source of great...more
Jim Kristofic
I cried openly the day I found out Steve Irwin died. I’ve always been a naturalist at heart, and I have great respect for those who passionately strive to conserve the animals and plant life of this Earth.

After reading Laurence Anthony’s “The Elephant Whisperer,” I was glad to see a kindred spirit to Irwin, alive and daring, working in his native Africa with local Zulus, game rangers, and international conservationists to preserve the powerful – yet fragile – existence of a herd of “rogue” Afri...more
Apr 12, 2012 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers
“This is their story. They taught me that all life forms are important to each ther in our common quest for happiness and survival. That there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind.” Page 4 * Location 126 (Kindle version)

This is a story of a Game Ranger and “his” herd of Elephants. The Elephants are 'delinquent' when they are first brought to Thula Thula Game Reserve located in South Africa. Their delinquency is largely due to the atrocities that have been besto...more
Rudy Dalessandro
One of those stories that's so inspiring, because its a true one, about how we are not the only intelligent life on this rock, and that if we can get a handle on our own selfish needs, we might just be able to listen better, and here when the other earthlings around us communicate with each other, and try to get through to our thick, arrogant, and often ignorant, craniums. Knowing that Lawrence Anthony passed away last year - and that the herd of elephants at his Thula Thula wildlife reserve in...more
I just had to give this book five stars, though four may fit as well. When I read that, after the author died recently, the herd of elephants he befriended traveled many miles to stand near his body, without there being any means of informing them of his death, I was inspired to read this book he published in 2009. I was hooked by the first chapter and wanted more after the last chapter. There is so much to say about how each chapter had its own adventure, some complete with puzzles, tension and...more
Sergio GRANDE films
Whenever I hear the word 'whisperer' I think of that pretentious gay Chicano conning housewives on TV. He who talks to dogs. This book couldn't be further from that circus.

"The Elephant Whisperer" follows the life of a hard-working conservationist in South Africa for a couple of years, during which time he establishes a preternatural relationship with a herd of wild African elephants. The story is so human, the anecdotes so touching, and the man-beast relationship so incredibly deep that I recom...more
Don’t let the title sway you from reading this book – this is not about someone who claims to “talk to the animals”. But rather, it is an inspiring story of one man who learns the importance of life while tending to a rogue herd of elephants. Anthony owned a large wildlife reserve in Zuzuland and was asked to take on a troublesome herd of elephants or they would need to be killed. With much thought and trepidation, he agrees to take on this responsibility. We see his relationship with the herd m...more
This book was interesting, sad, funny and inspirational; I feel a sense of loss that Mr. Anthony is no longer with us. His theory and way of life of not interfering with nature is admirable; it has to be hard to see another creature be killed and leave it alone because that is the way of nature. It was eerie reading how the elephants sensed when he went away and were waiting for him at the exact time he returned to Thula Thula; in hindsight, it is reminiscent of the elephants appearing at his ho...more
This has been my out-and-about book for the last couple of months, reading it when I had a chance at the zoo or waiting for appointments and the like.

I found it a very inspiring account of Lawrence Anthony's work in Africa, not only with this adopted herd of elephants but dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a game reserve, the biggest issue being poaching.

There were some heart-breaking moments in the book as well as some moving and funny ones. He doesn't sugar-coat the challenge of hi...more
It was a little hard for me to get into this book. I was distracted by the two authors.

The main author, Lawrence Anthony, is a rugged bushman of South Africa, and his voice is distinctively casual and laced with slang, ie, "I went on walkabout and then hopped in the Landy to find the herd." On the other hand, the co-author, Graham Spence, is a London-based editor. I'm guessing his job was to spruce up the writing and make it a bit more... polished. So whenever the language became descriptive an...more
This is a very , very special book. What's unique about it is that this is an animal story told by a conservationist who knows the importance of keeping them in the wild and keeping them feral. Yet, the very impact of man on wildlife has forced the author to make some creative changes in order to save the lives of these magnificent creatures. Constantly striving to create safety and a balance to the elephants and other wildlife, even at the risk of his own life, Lawrence Anthony brings us up clo...more
This book is subtitled "My Life with the Herd in the African Wild." Anthony, a South African conservationist who owns a reserve called Thula Thula received a call that someone needed to get rid of a herd of rogue elephants--they would either give them to him or, if he could not take them, they would be destroyed. Against his better judgement, he accepted the elephants and thus began the adventure of settling them into their new surroundings, winning their trust, and learning the lessons the elep...more
"They [the elephants] taught me that all life forms are important to each other in our common quest for happiness and survival. That there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind."

This is one of the most remarkable stories I’ve read in my life, and has been inspirational to me over the past year. Lawrence Anthony’s retelling of the rescue of a herd of traumatised elephants moved me from the first page to the last. I’ve spent some of the last year writing about eleph...more
I was prepared to love this book, given what I had read about the herd visiting the author's home after he died, even though they were three days' journey away. And it is an extraordinary story of one man's passion--even obsession--to save these magnificent beasts from certain death, since they were considered to be rogue and dangerous.

I really liked the last quarter of the book, where the storytelling became much more engaging. But the first three quarters? Well, not so much. I remarked to my...more
Lisa Hagan
I had the honor and privilege of working with conservationist Lawrence Anthony and co-author Graham Spence on this incredibly moving book. It was our second book together, the previous BABYLON'S ARK: THE INCREDIBLE WAR TIME RESCUE OF THE BAGHDAD ZOO also an amazing book.

Lawence was called upon to rescue a rogue herd of elephants, which he did with very little hesitation.
It is an touching story about tough man's love and deep connection with these fascinating huge animals. You cannot put this boo...more
There aren't enough stars for this book. I was in awe of this man's story and the free-for-all honesty with which it was told. His tale is all uplifting, heart-breaking, hilarious, and horrifying and just beautiful. I was already aware of the layers of incredible intelligence that elephants (and nature in general) possess, but to read such a vivid and personal account of such a deep connection to a group of creatures has led me to an entirely new way of looking at the world. It somehow made me f...more

This just won an Audie Award for best audio book in the bio/memoir category and in my opinion it was well-deserved. It will definitely be among my all-time favorites. I have a soft spot in my heart for elephants and this book reinforced those feelings. I ran the gamut of emotions as I read this book: I laughed, I cried, I was amazed, sometimes shocked, and ultimately, I fell in love with the elephants and their human rescuer.

Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants on his...more
This book was recommended to me by a fellow traveler while we were in Kenya and Tanzania. I only wish I had read it before I had traveled there.

We saw so many of these truly wonderful creatures, and it just wasn't enough. Had I read it before this trip, I most likely would not have tried to have a "conversation" with one of these beautiful animals, but I certainly would have imagined it! When asked which animal I was most hoping to see, I didn't have to hesitate to answer "elephant".

I loved thi...more
I would give this book ten stars, if I could. As an audio book, the narrator was superb. I was captivated by the story of Lawrence Anthony within listening to the first few minutes of his story. I learned a lot about nature, from the perspective of this conservationist. In particular, do elephants really communicate across long distances? How? I always believed the elephants are highly intelligent animals, who are a tight knit family. The story of how Lawrence Anthony saves a group of "rogue" el...more
Being an animal enthusiast I am always inclined to eagerly pick up a book with an animal at the center of the story so there was no surprise that The Elephant Whisperer was found in my hands.

Lawrence Anthony, a South African nature conservationist, invites the reader into the world of his game reserve, Thula Thula -which is in Zulu Land, Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa (not far from where I live). As the title reads, his story is about his relationship with some "troublesome" elephants that leaves y...more
Roshani Hingorani
What would you do if you unexpectedly become the owner of an infamous herd of 'rogue' wild elephants who are experts at breaking out? Certainly, you wouldn't want yourself killed by these aggressive giants by accepting an offer to keep them in the first place. But this is exactly what Lawrence did as he was their last hope for survival. Running Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa, he had taken them in to protect them from being shot dead as they had become a threat to human lives. Subsequen...more
"..the only good cage is an empty cage." These ending words leave an echo of the central theme of this book; the man's warmth and love for wildlife.

The lush green African savannah; the vast bush dotted with wildlife; the long Land Rover drives... every passing page makes the yearning to visit the reserve Thula Thula even stronger. I do hope to visit it some day. The only bad thing about this book is that it ended too soon; I would have loved if it had been twice thrice as fat.

What he says may...more
Of all the books I have read this year, this is the gem. At first, I thought that Lawence Anthony was another British patrician with a big bankroll and big ideas. His saving of this small herd of troublesome elephant looked amateurish at the start and seemed to be doomed.

But, just in time, he showed innovation and intelligence in developing a relationship with the lead female elephant that was nothing short of miraculous. I will never look at an enclosure such as the elephant house of the San Di...more
Linda Hunter
This is quite the enjoyable book from several different perspectives. One, the adventure and excitement of the true stories of animal interactions with humans are incredible. Two, the information about elephants from the authors point of view were just short of astounding. (He still loved the bull elephant that rolled his Landrover several times with him inside) Three, the author's sensitivity to the experiences of mistreated animals is heartening. I found this to be a "page turner" non-fiction...more
The author is a conservationist living in Zululand South Africa. He is contacted with a request of whether he would be willing to accept a rogue family of elephants on his reserve, Thula Thula. Knowing that not accepting means a death sentence for the elephants, he agrees. He makes the preparations to add an electric wire system to the reserve fencing and creates a boma (fenced in area) where the herd is initially quarentined. Amazingly, by spending time with the herd letting them get acclimate...more
Robert Knowles
A good story, but it tends to make elephants seem rare and precious which, in South Africa, they are not. Elephants need to be managed as the amount of damage they cause if left to wander in the open veld is indescribable. This damage causes other species of animals to lose their homes, and for plants to become sparse, and it can lead to extinctions. The international audience tends to see things in black and white, and demands that these undoubtedly intelligent animals be protected at all costs...more
What do you do with a herd of unruly, escape artist elephants? To save them from being killed, Anthony brought them to his game reserve, Thula Thula in South Africa. They were known for escaping reserves and for their extreme dislike of humans. Some of the herd had already been shot by humans and Anthony knew that to settle them down, the matriarch, Nana, would have to trust just one human--himself. Anthony used an unheard of technique to settle the herd and amazingly, it worked.

Again, Lawrence...more
A beautiful story, beautifully told. Just imagine someone asking you if you'd like to take in a herd of elephants, as they were household pets!

Some of the moments are very powerful, like the matriarch introducing her new born to a human she didn't trust just a few months ago...the ultimate symbol of trust. We are taken into the working of a herd of elephants and their process of thought as much as we can understand of it. The side stories of the people and other animals in the reserve are just...more
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“The only good cage is an empty cage.” 28 likes
“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.” 21 likes
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