Creatures who loom large in nature, history, and in the human heart.
By Dame Daphne Sheldrick
The first person ever to hand-rear an elephant successfully, Dame Daphne Sheldrick perfected a milk formula and husbandry approach that have since saved countless orphaned animals. This big-hearted memoir captures her special relationships — with Kenya’s wildlife; her husband, David, a pioneer of African environmental preservation; and with an elephant named Eleanor who became her trusted friend for more than forty years. A majestic tribute to a country and its residents of all shapes and sizes.
By Dan Wylie
This fascinating entry in Reaktion’s Animal series (each of which explores the historical significance of a particular creature) addresses the elephant, “the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind,” as Aristotle famously opined. Tracing the pachyderm’s symbolic import through cultures all over the world — from the Hindu god of wisdom, Ganesh, to children’s book favorite, Babar — Wylie follows an enduring legacy as long as the beast’s fabled memory.
By Michael Morpurgo
The author of War Horse pens this poignant story, based on actual events, about an elephant rescued from Belfast during WWII. Lizzie and Karl’s mother is a zookeeper, and as ordnance begins to strike the city center, she brings home an orphaned elephant named Marlene to live in their backyard. But when the bombing of Dresden forces the family to flee, Marlene’s transportation poses unique challenges. A beautiful example of the hold these gentle giants have on the hearts of children.
By Caitlin O’Connell
In her compelling account of scientific discovery Caitlin O’Connell chronicles her dawning realization that a herd of elephants she was observing used their feet to “listen” to the seismic communication of other herds, allowing them to converge accross great distances. It’s also a clear-eyed catalog of the frustrating realities of conducting research in war-ravaged Namibia, and the myriad difficulties faced by those trying to ensure the survival of these majestic creatures.
By Richard Stone
Stone’s gripping story marries scientific inquiry and high-stakes adventure as he follows two expeditions racing to discover a frozen mammoth carcass — the possible genetic key to resurrecting this ancestor of modern Elephantidae. Not only are the descriptions of their respective journeys thrilling, as each team battles bitter cold, biting wind, and impossible odds in pursuit of its goal, but Stone also wrestles with the moral complexities implicit in the quest to re-create an animal extinct for thousands of years.