The Elephant Whisperer

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“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.” 
― Lawrence AnthonyThe Elephant Whisperer

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Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whispererbravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003. On March 7,  2012 Lawrence Anthony died.  He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and numerous elephants.  Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend.  A total of 20 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African house.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe, not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence ‘s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way:  Walking slowly for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.

Lawrence‘s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over a year! But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay  their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives - so much respect that they stayed for 2 days and 2 nights.  Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.

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       The Elephant Whisperer; My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
                        by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence

Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to animal conservation, protecting the world’s endangered species. Then he was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand. His common sense told him to refuse, but he was the herd’s last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn’t take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom. Amazon

I apologize for the very beat up cover of this book, it’s my own personal book and it’s well loved. It’s one of my favourite books ever and I definitely recommend a read.

The Elephant Whisperer

Often science is so overwhelming and so clean-cut that it’s hard to see anything but facts and figures. But there will always be things that we don’t understand and can’t explain, especially in the realms of animal science.

-For Lawrence Anthony.

For those who haven’t read my review of ‘Alex and Me’ by Irene Pepperberg, leave this page now and read that one first.

Are you done? Good.

Thula Thula is a game reserve in the heart of Zululand, South Africa. In 1999 for the first time in century, the area became home to a herd of elephants. These elephants are completely unlike those you see at the zoo. A life of human abuse has pushed this herd to the breaking point. They have all watched as their matriarch and her young calf was shot in from of them. They’ve been abused and they’ve been scared. They break through electric fences, charge any human they see and escape every enclosure. Thula Thula-and more importantly, its owner Lawrence Anthony is the very last chance for these elephants. The deal: either Anthony takes on the traumatised and unruly herd, or they will all be killed.

By slowly gaining the trust of these elephants-in a completely unconventional manner, Anthony is able to rescue the herd. The true nature of elephants, their intelligence and their relationships are more closely observed in this book than I have ever read before. ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence extracts the key moments from Anthony’s life at Thula Thula over a decade or so. There are deaths, births and weddings. Thula Thula and its staff face fire, flood, mutiny, threats from the tribal community, tagati (evil spirits) and the most dangerous predator of all: man.

I really enjoyed reading about Africa and its people in this book. It was and insight into how the tribal community operates, and how important it is to the people. Anthony jokes that the people he hires from the community are pretty hopeless at using the walkie talkies in the park-but then there are aspects of their lives that we would not have even the smallest glimpse of understanding. I think this book would be a good one to read for anyone who is travelling to Africa, or anyone who loves learning about different cultures. It also speaks highly of the beauty of the land.

The defining difference between ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ and ‘Alex and Me’ is that the former is written by a conservationist, not a scientist. I tend to incline more towards the science side of things myself, so I was a little disappointed by the lack of actual facts and research which were so prominent in Alex and Me. Many of the observations made are of a somewhat spiritual nature-i.e., what Anthony feels is happening-as opposed to knowing what is happening. And that’s okay. Often, science is so overwhelming and so clean-cut that it’s hard to see past facts and figures. But there will always be things that we don’t understand and can’t explain, especially in the realms of animal science.

I believe Lawrence Anthony was similar to people like Jane Goodall, Irene Pepperberg and Dian Fossey, but with slightly less science orientation. They’re on the same page, but from a different book. I’ve recently found out that Lawrence Anthony passed away in 2012. Apparently after is death, the elephants from the reserve stood vigil outside his home on the reserve for two days. I am crying as I type this, because just as I’d found a hero, I discovered I’ll never get a chance to meet him.

One day, I will go to Thula Thula. And I will see these elephants. Or their great grandcalves in any case. And I will thank them for inspiring Lawrence Anthony to write The Elephant Whisperer.

If you’re looking for something different, are interested in conservation, culture or animals, this book is definitely one that you should pick up.

Love,

Sarah

Tag, you're it!

I was tagged by nyuuuh , Thank you for tagging me!^^

[Rules are to tell 6 facts about yourself and tag 10 favorite followers]

Ehh? 6 facts huh..

1. I love floral/nature stuff, clouds, &kittens!

2. I’m a big coffee drinker! My dream is to one day own my own little café.

3. I am in love with the sound of violins&pianos!<3 although, I don’t know how to play them, I just love listening to them when people play them!^^

4. I LOVE sweets!! Chocolate cake, pudding…PUDDING IS THE BEST, brownies, ice-cream, etc..& fruits! I love watermelon! And cherries, and blueberries!

5. I love traveling/exploring.

6. I broke my arm in the 5th grade from falling of the monkey bars..

I tag: welcome-to-illusiona kozumic the-elephant-whisperer chunsuzume self-proclaimed-anime-addict fromangelstoashes princedesuuu aimimil l-i-f-e–imitates–a-r-t &anyone else that wants to do this, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Gay wedding cake for all! Except those who voted against legal love you can all go cry in the corner hugging your giant stuffed red elephants whispering “I can see Russia from my house.”