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

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
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Mar 12, 12

bookshelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Recommended for: Animal lovers
Read in January, 2010, read count: 1

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." They hate people. They've escaped several times from their current home. And the matriarch thinks nothing of grabbing an electric wire, and taking the 8,000 volts of electricity long enough to short the wire or tear it down to clear a path for escape. If Anthony refuses to take the elephants, they'll all be shot. So he says yes.

By the time the elephants arrive at Thula Thula, the herd is down to seven. Their previous owners shot the matriarch and her baby so they wouldn't "cause any more trouble." (You learn later that it's not the elephants who are the problem.) And the herd hates humans even more than it did before.

The elephants escape Thula Thula within 24 hours of their arrival. There's a struggle to recapture them, so that people in nearby villages won't kill them. And when they finally get back to Thula Thula, Anthony has to practically live with them to prevent them from escaping again. He needs to teach them to like (or at least tolerate) people without domesticating them - a difficult balance, but he succeeds.

Anthony is then offered another troubled elephant - one who is all alone because the rest of her herd has been shot or sold, and who fears humans. He has to start the process all over again.

It's amazing how the elephants change - and how quickly they do.

I fell in love with the elephants. I fell in love with Max, Anthony's Staffordshire terrier who has no problem taking on a wild boar or a cobra (he kills the cobra). And I really respect Anthony for his knowledge of the wildlife and his general goodness.

If there's anything seriously wrong with this book, I can't find it.
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01/03/2010 page 46
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