Rebecca's Reviews > The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
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's review
Apr 12, 12

Recommended for: Animal Lovers
Read from April 08 to 12, 2012

“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 bestowed on them by the human race e.g. their extended family were hunted for their ivory. The original herd of 7 elephants are lead by their matriarch 'Nana' (as named by Lawrence) who will go to all extremes to ensure her herd is safe and well cared for, including escaping from game reserves. Due to their large size and subsequent fear factor elephants hold, they must be moved from their old reserve to a new one (Thula Thula) or risk being killed or 'put down'.

Enter Lawrence Anthony, Game Ranger and Conservationist. He happily agrees to the challenge; and so it starts the beginning of a beautiful and life long friendship between him and “his” herd. Whilst this friendship was not without its fair share of 'trust' issues to start with, eventually through Lawrence's patience, perseverance and the herd's acceptance - they became an integral part of Thula Thula and Lawrence’s life.

Having travelled myself to South Africa and witness these majestic creatures in the flesh - in my opinion this book does justice to these magnificent creatures. Lawrence - through his stories - is able to draw the reader a picture of love and devotion not only from human to elephant but vice versa. The last chapter of this book nicely sums up what he has learned from them and to be honest the Human Race has a lot to learn from them. For example, the human race could learn from their loyalty and devotion to one another; their instinct to protect one another; unconditional and unwavering love alongside respect for the 'elders' and towing the line to ensure the herd is able to firstly survive and most importantly (for me) not forgetting those who have passed on. There is a poignant story of a baby elephant who is not able to survive after birth and the “memorial” she is given by her mourning family who would still visit her bones – alluded to almost like an elephant burial ground. Elephants have extraordinary memories and this is shown to us throughout the book.

I cried with this book - which for me was a sign that the story was being so well told that I felt the emotion that author was feeling as he wrote.

There are other stories of other animals, including the family dogs, and of Zulu traditions/beliefs as well as the project to expand Thula Thula interwoven throughout - ultimately this is a book about the love and devotion between Lawrence and “his” herd - with some lessons along the way for humans to understand the respect these magnificent animals deserve - as well as our protection.
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