Love, Life, and Elephants
An African Love Story
By Daphne Sheldrick
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374104573, 352pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous zebra; and the majestic elephant Eleanor, with whom Daphne has shared more than forty years of great friendship. But this is also a magical and heartbreaking human love story between Daphne and David Sheldrick, the famous Tsavo Park warden. It was their deep and passionate love, David’s extraordinary insight into all aspects of nature, and the tragedy of his early death that inspired Daphne’s vast array of achievements, most notably the founding of the world-renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Orphans’ Nursery in Nairobi National Park, where Daphne continues to live and work to this day. Encompassing not only David and Daphne’s tireless campaign for an end to poaching and for conserving Kenya’s wildlife, but also their ability to engage with the human side of animals and their rearing of the orphans expressly so they can return to the wild, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing a rare insight into the life of one of the world’s most remarkable women.
Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author, conservationist, and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild. From 1955 to 1976, Sheldrick was co-warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.
“A remarkable portrait of [the Sheldricks'] love and life's work.”—People
“If Dame Daphne hadn't already been honored by the Queen of England, I would peronally lobby on her behalf. This extraordinary woman has saved hundreds of orphaned baby elephants left parentless by poachers, as well as rhinos, gazelles and other African animals . . . As if that wasn't enough, she can write, too.”—Chloe Schama, Smithsonian magazine
“Love, Life and Elephants has an animal population big and personable enough to fill a zoo.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times summer reading list
“[Sheldrick] gives a lyrical yet droll voice to her rollicking life in Kenya, where she has spent more than 50 years rehabilitating orphaned wildlife . . . [A] rich memoir.”—Publishers Weekly
“Five Stars . . . [Sheldrick] and her pioneering game warden husband David have often been ahead of science in their understanding of African wildlife. Cynics scoffed for years at the ‘thrilling in the air’ many people claimed to feel around elephants, and at the rumours that they could communicate over many kilometres—until it was proved that infrasonic calls at a frequency of 21 hertz were responsible for both phenomena . . . An enchanting memoir . . . This book raises many questions about who belongs where: both people and animals.”—Helen Brown, The Daily Telegraph (UK)
“In this highly personal autobiography, [Sheldrick] recounts a lifetime of fostering orphan mammals, reptiles, and birds while raising a family and helping her valiant husband develop Kenya’s national parks in an era of political turmoil and rampant poaching. Filled with eyewitness accounts of African conservation, astute wildlife observations, and a touching love story, Sheldrick’s book will delight nature-loving readers.”—Rick Roche, Booklist
“Heartfelt . . . fascinating.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[Love, Life, and Elephants] is both an incredible memoir of a life and two romances. The first of these blossoms when the young author moves to Tsavo with her first husband and falls head over heels for the park and its famous warden, David Sheldrick. The second love story follows Daphne and David as they devote their lives to rescuing baby elephants from poachers and finding homes for orphan elephants, all the while campaigning against the ever-present threat of the ivory trade.”—GQ (UK)