The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
Lawrence Anthony, 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.
The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad memoir of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, Anthony's unrelenting efforts at animal protection and his remarkable connection with nature will inspire animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.
supernatural is as much a part of life as breathing. That’s just the way Africa is. I remember years back, long before I acquired Thula Thula, I was rushing a Zulu to hospital after he had been bitten by a puff adder in a nearby village. The bite was potentially lethal but that did not concern him. What he was really worried about was that he believed it was not a coincidence. In his mind the snake was actually inhabited by a spirit sent to punish him for some transgression. Fortunately we got
touched me. I was surprised at the wetness of her trunk tip and how musky her smell was. After a few moments I lifted my hand and felt the top of her colossal trunk, briefly touching the bristly hair fibres. Too soon the instant was over. She slowly withdrew her trunk. She stood and looked at me for a few moments before slowly turning and returning to the herd that had gathered about twenty yards away, watching every move. Interestingly, as she got back Frankie stepped forward and greeted her,
their new home. At least for the moment. ‘They’re exploring, and they like what they see,’ said David. ‘This must be better than anything they’ve known before.’ I nodded. Maybe, just maybe, our gamble in letting them out of the boma early had paid off. We drove back up to the house where Françoise greeted us with a trencherman’s breakfast of boerewors – spicy Afrikaner sausage – bacon, eggs, tomatoes and toast, and mug after mug of home-made coffee. Bijou, Françoise’s little Maltese poodle,
check of the area and settled himself down. He knew we would be here for a while. The transport truck arrived in mid-afternoon and backed into the loading trench. This time we had the levels right and the loading bay opened smoothly. We all craned forward for a good look. It was a good thing I didn’t blink, for as the door opened the youngster sprinted straight into the thickest part of the boma’s bush. And there she hid for the next few days, coming out only in the dead of night to eat the food
found. Nana turned and moved off, deliberately walking past the gate where she had originally pushed over the poles to get out. I had no doubt she was showing ET the exit and simultaneously letting me know to open the gate. I had asked for her help and she had taken her decision: ‘Let her out!’ But with all the elephants around we could not get anywhere near the gate and could do no more than watch as ET moved along with them on the inside of the boma fence until she reached the far end and