The Elephant Whisperer Review
African Bush Elephant
Lawrence Anthony Page -Conservationist
The Elephant Whisperer, written by Lawrence Anthony Page, is one of the most interesting and intriguing books I have read about elephants and any natural game preserve. In Zululand, South Africa, Lawrence Anthony manages a game preserve called Thula Thula. He is a conservationist with great respect and knowledge of African wildlife, particularly the elephants. This story occurs after apartheid and many tribes owned land in this region. Although Lawrence Anthony is a white man, he has a very good relationship with the heads of most tribes and works with them through many crises that occur throughout this exciting story.
Lawrence had formerly been a business man before turning into a conservationist. He has a lovely French wife that ultimately maintains a lodge for visitors to for South Africa tours. There are several other interesting characters that help him maintain this huge preserve with a large variety of wild animals.
Google Map of Zuzuland, South Africa
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony 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.
Thula Thula Gets Elephants
One day he is offered a herd of seven rogue elephants, which he accepts. The leader and one baby elephant had already been shot. All of the elephants would have been shot if he had not accepted them. Rogue elephants are extremely dangerous and much of this book recounts how they kept the elephants contained in a specific area while he worked with them. He and his crew built a large, strong enclosure that was surrounded by high voltage electrical wire to keep the elephants contained.
As time went on he realized he would have to find a way to communicate with the elephants if they were ever going to be able to roam freely in a larger area. He spent days and nights working with this group of elephants, continually making slow progress. Some of the antics of the elephants in this story are fascinating, and the information about the way they live and communicate is so interesting. Elephants communicate with each other in many ways, one of which is a rumbling in their stomachs. They respect their own ancestors and nurture their elephant babies.
Lawrence survives and triumphs over many crisis throughout this story. The cattlemen use devious measures to try to get this land for their own. There are poachers who try to kill elephants for their ivory, fire and wild lions to deal with; this roller coaster story keeps you intrigued from the beginning to the end. I had a hard time setting this book down until I was finished
As for the elephants, they actually forgave humans for their cruelty, which occurred in their lives before reaching ThulaThula. Many other animals are discussed throughout the book as well.
Tropical Trails Safari to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara National Parks
The video shows the numerous animals you might see on a tour in Africa. Many of these animals are discussed in the book.
Near the end of the book Lawrence states what he has learned, which is quite lengthy. I particularly like the following quote. “Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never by whole ourselves.” This remarkable man saved creatures that were near extinction, and this true story is one that makes you really assess your views and values about all creatures in this world.
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© 2012 Pamela Oglesby