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Mingling with Elephants: Young Friend of the Elephants on Elephant Apprecition Day in Whipsnade Zoo

Elephant Appreciation Day is on us again and what better way to celebrate these lovable animals than with a collection of memorable books featuring elephants?

People are so difficult. Give me an elephant any day.

(Mark Shand)


The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

The Elephant Whisperer is the true story of a herd of wild elephants, considered dangerous and troublesome by the owners of a South African game reserve. On the verge of being put down, the elephants are rescued by Lawrence Anthony, a conservationalist and the owner of Thula Thula safari park, who offers to take them on.

There is only one problem – Anthony knows nothing about elephants. He has to learn fast and build a relationship with the herd. Will the elephants accept their new home in Thula Thula or will their continue their breakout attempts?

The Elephant Whisperer is an engaging first hand account of life on a private game reserve: in addition to talking at length about his work with the troubled elephant herd, Anthony also  introduces us to the other animals in his reserve and describes the difficulties he faces as a conservationalist: fights with poachers, tribal disputes in the neighbouring villages, arson… and building a business to keep the safari park viable.

Elephant Bill by J. H. Williams

Another first hand account but in a completely different setting: the remarkable tale of how a herd of elephants, their riders and their riders’ families evacuated across the high mountains of Burma with the Japanese army in hot pursuit during World War II.

Demobilised at the end of World War I, J. H. Williams – Elephant Bill – found employment with a logging company in Burma. For the next twenty years, he worked with elephants hauling logs out of the jungle, until the Japanese army invaded – and they wanted Williams’s elephants to build bridges and roads for their advancing army. The story of the flight of the herd across snowy mountain passes, pursued by a motorised army, carrying the wives and children of the company employees into safety quite simply verges on the unbelievable.

Although the flight across the mountains is the climax of the book, you will first learn all about elephants, their characters, their habits, their training, their treatment in sickness and in health, from the foremost expert: Elephant Bill.

An unforgettable book by a level-headed man who did not idealise elephants but who appreciated and loved them – because he knew them.

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

The story of a Dresden zookeeper and her children who rescue an elephant from being shot during World War II. Or is it the elephant that rescues them from the fiery hell of burning Dresden?

A heart-warming tale from the pen of a well-known children’s author who seems to specialise in describing war through the eyes of children and animals.

Rosie Is My Relative by Gerald Durrell

Adrian, the rather dull and unobjectionable clerk receives a letter in the post from his long lost uncle, the black sheep of the family. Uncle Amos is on his deathbed and is concerned about the future fate of his faithful companion, Rosy…

To say the least, Adrian is greatly alarmed at the idea of having this unknown female foisted on him:

What if this Rosy turned out to be an acrobat, or – worse still – one of those fast, abandoned females who stood on the backs of horses in spangled tights? To have a female acrobat suddenly pushed into your life was bad enough, but to have a drunken female acrobat pushed into your life was surely more than anyone could endure.

As it turns out, Rosy is not a female acrobat in spangled tights but an elephant – who is, however, as Uncle Amos had indicated, rather addicted to alcohol. But Rosy offers a chance for Adrian to get away from his dull job in the City and the pair embarks on a series of hilarious adventures (which I have no intention of spoiling for you!).

The idea for this story supposedly came from the fact that one of Gerald Durrell’s relatives had an elephant bequeathed to him. Even if we’re talking about the Durrell family here, surely that’s just a bit too far-fetched to believe? 🙂

An entertaining elephant tale told in a manner reminiscent of P. G. Wodehouse.

You might also like:Elephant Appreciation DayThe elephant herd at Whipsnade Zoo (Why not adopt an elephant?)Thula Thula Game ReserveJoin the HerdSave the Elephants

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