When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a small herd of traumatized elephants onto his private game reserve at Thula Thula in Zululand, his experience and common sense told him to refuse. After all, a rogue elephant is a fearsome and dangerous creature. But Anthony possessed a gift that few of us have, a sort of sixth sense about what these distressed and distrustful animals needed and quickly went to work preparing to take them in.
Anthony’s goal was not to tame these rogue elephants. He wanted them to once again be wild and free, to live as they were intended. Not to trust humans—certainly not. They’d been betrayed by hunters and poachers—but to trust him. Only him.
He started slowly, very slowly, by merely observing them from a distance.
“Previously traumatized wild elephants appeared to regain a degree of faith in new humans once the matriarch has established trust with just one new human. But it must be the matriarch.”
He cites evidence of the elephants’ profound intelligence. Early on they outsmarted the electrified fence by testing it and then downing trees to disable it. They also showed an uncanny ability to communicate over long distances–even with Anthony himself–by sensing when he would arrive home from a trip to greet him.
“Elephants transmit infra-sound vibrations through unique stomach rumblings that can be received over vast distances. These ultra-low frequencies, which cannot be detected by human ear, oscillate at similar wavelengths to those transmitted by whales; vibrations that some believe quaver across the globe.
Evolution is ruthless; anything not essential to survival withers on the gene-pool vine. Thus, it is only reasonable to postulate that elephants are using these advanced long-distance frequencies for a specific purpose—to communicate coherently, one to another and herd to herd.”
Anthony’s patience and passion saved these elephants from certain death and taught him lessons that would benefit us all.
“They taught me that all life forms are important to each other in our common quest for happiness and survival. That there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind.”
“From Nana, the glorious matriarch, I learned how much family means. I learned just how much wise leadership, selfless discipline and tough unconditional love is at the core of the family unit. I learned how important one’s own flesh and blood actually is when the dice are loaded against you. [and]…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.
This book will give you not only a profound appreciation for elephants, but also for how all living things are connected in ways we’ve never thought of. Recommend.