When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his reserve at Thula Thula, his commonsense told him to refuse But he was the herd's last chance of survival notorious escape artists, they would all be killed if Lawrence wouldn't take them He agreed, but before arrangements for the move could be completed the animals broke out again and the matriarch and her baby were shot The remaining elephants were traumatised and very angry As soon as they arrived at Thula Thula they started planning their escapeAs Lawrence battled to create a bond with the elephants and save them from execution, he came to realise that they had a lot to teach him about love, loyalty and freedom Set against the background of life on the reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, this is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers everywhere. “In 1999, I was asked to accept a herd of troubled wild elephants on my game reserve I had no inkling of the escapades and adventures I was about to embark upon I had no idea how challenging it would be or how much my life would be enriched The adventure has been both physical and spiritual Physical in the sense that it was action from the word go, as you will see in the following pages; spiritual because these giants of the planet took me deep into their world.” – Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant WhispererFascinating memoir of the adventurous life of wildlife conservationist Lawrence Anthony, head of Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa In the early years of his custodianship of Thula Thula, he took in a herd of troubled elephants who were about to be destroyed This is the story of how he developed a special relationship with these animals to help them get over their belligerent dealings with humans He lived in the bush next to them as they adapted to life in the wilds of the reserve It shows how humans and animals can form close bonds and how animals communicate in ways we do not always understand This book is so muchthan a “book about elephants,” though they play a starring role It covers interactions with a wide range of other wildlife, including the leopard, hyena, kudu, lion, rhino, cape buffalo, crocodile, andHis pet dogs are featured, and human interactions are not neglected It was particularly interesting to read of his dealings with poachers, rangers, officials, and Zulu leaders In fact, it includes a great deal of history, culture, traditions, spiritual beliefs of the neighboring Zulu tribes, as well as the impact of the former apartheid policies This book contains story after story of wild adventures that take place over an undefined number of years, which are wellchosen for their level of significance, adventure, danger, or comedic effect For example, there are stories of trying to herd a mfezi (Mozambican spitting cobra) out of his and his wife’s bedroom and an escaping cape buffalo that chases one of the reserve staff around a vehicle The book flows in a “neveradullmoment” style, though the writing is choppy at times and the book is reallya series of short episodes rather than single a cohesive story The elephants are the “characters,” and each has a distinct personality The author employs humor but does not shy away from the gutwrenching and sad parts of the life in the African wilderness I was so enthralled that I kept telling my friends and family about these anecdotes and was inspired to do further research This book will appeal to anyone with a passion for animals, concern about wildlife conservation, or desire to find out what it is like to operate a game preserve in Africa “But 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 be whole ourselves.” – Lawrence Anthony If you are interested in animals, nature, true stories of incredible interactions between animals and humans and certain conservation issues that South Africa faces, this is a 10 star read I read that the author of this book recently passed away and that the elephants he interacted with for many years instinctively traveled a very long way on foot over many, many miles to come and visit him at the place where he passed away. I'm starting to get bored with the various "whisperers." Especially since most of them don't do any actual whispering to the animals in question.So I wish this book had a different title.That aside, this is a fantastic book about some of nature's most beautiful and amazing animals (I LOVE elephants!)Lawrence Anthony runs a nature preserve in South Africa called Thula Thula One day, he gets a call from someone offering him a herd of nine elephants for the preserve The herd is apparently "rogue." They hate people They've escaped several times from their current home And the matriarch thinks nothing of grabbing an electric wire, and taking the 8,000 volts of electricity long enough to short the wire or tear it down to clear a path for escape If Anthony refuses to take the elephants, they'll all be shot So he says yes.By the time the elephants arrive at Thula Thula, the herd is down to seven Their previous owners shot the matriarch and her baby so they wouldn't "cause anytrouble." (You learn later that it's not the elephants who are the problem.) And the herd hates humans eventhan it did before.The elephants escape Thula Thula within 24 hours of their arrival There's a struggle to recapture them, so that people in nearby villages won't kill them And when they finally get back to Thula Thula, Anthony has to practically live with them to prevent them from escaping again He needs to teach them to like (or at least tolerate) people without domesticating them a difficult balance, but he succeeds.Anthony is then offered another troubled elephant one who is all alone because the rest of her herd has been shot or sold, and who fears humans He has to start the process all over again.It's amazing how the elephants change and how quickly they do.I fell in love with the elephants I fell in love with Max, Anthony's Staffordshire terrier who has no problem taking on a wild boar or a cobra (he kills the cobra) And I really respect Anthony for his knowledge of the wildlife and his general goodness.If there's anything seriously wrong with this book, I can't find it. I chanced upon a reference to the book “The Elephant Whisperer” by Lawrence Anthony (with Graham Spence) while reading an article on the internet I found the summary interesting and later got the book It has been a very fascinating and highly recommended read.The story is about Lawrence Anthony and his experience with a herd of wild elephants Lawrence owns the Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa He gets a call one day asking if he is interested in having a herd of wild elephants These elephants are notorious in breaking away from their sanctuaries and have been so far unmanageable If he declines, the elephants would be shot Keen to save the elephants, he accepts to receive them In preparation for receiving the elephants, an electrified fence is erected including inspection by forest authorities The day the elephants arrive, they break out from the fence at night A search was launched, and they were brought back to the reserve sedated They make another attempt to escape, but Lawrence comes in front of them, talking to them in a soft tone The matriarch Nana then backed off from the fence with the rest of the herd following her The story from then on is how he gradually wins the trust of the herd Once the matriarch Nana trusts him, the rest of the herd follows Over time, the herd multiplies and grows to double the number There are also challenges from poachers in the vicinity There are also stories of their extraordinary intuition Every time Lawrence returned from a visit somewhere, the elephants used to visit his house to welcome him back without fail There is also one instance where his return was delayed, and the elephants went back and returned at the exact time he came back! As the elephants settle into their habitat, Lawrence gradually reduces his contact with them, allowing them to be in the wild They also are at peace and do not mind visitors to the game reserve watching them.The Elephant Whisperer is a touching story of the amazing capabilities of elephants and the story of how humans can reach out to them As you read the book, you are drawn to the identity and personality of each of the elephants Lawrence notes that most of us are under the false belief that effective communication is the sole monopoly of humans As also the belief that only we are capable of a wide range of emotions Nothing is far from the truth He also goes on to say how important preservation is, and not in cages The best cage is an empty one!Once I finished reading the book I searched the internet to see if there arebooks by the author I did find a couple and plan to read them including one on how he tries his best to save the animals in the Baghdad zoo during the gulf war I also found sadly that Lawrence expired of a heart attack in 2012 However read this and many other similar news items on the internet When Lawrence passed away, the elephants he rescued and nurtured came visting to his house to pay their last respects They travelled several miles and came in two separate herds, and stayed there for two days solemnly in mourning According to Anthony’s son, Dylan, both herds arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after his death (their last visit was several months back).