Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Elephant Whisperer

The library non-fiction book club choice for this month was "The Elephant Whisperer" by Lawrence Anthony, founder of the Thula Thula animal reserve in Zululand. Much was made of the elephants ability to "rumble" in communication and the long distances these rumbles can travel through the jungle. This short youtube explains it very well. 

An excellent discussion ensued about various readers' personal experiences with wildlife preservation, animal taming/training, pet ownership and communication. Many of the readers plan to tackle another of his books, "Babylon's Ark", about his experiences saving the zoo animals in Baghdad. Here's more about his experience from Wiki:

Baghdad Zoo

A tiger cub at the Baghdad Zoo, which Anthony helped rescue, being given a medical check-up by US Army Doctors
Baghdad Zoo was the biggest zoo in the Middle East; however, by 8 days after the 2003 invasion, when Anthony reached the zoo on a private rescue initiative, out of the original 700 animals in the Baghdad Zoo only 35 survived owing to bombing of the zoo, looting of the animals for food, and starvation of the caged animals without food and water. Anthony could not get to the zoo any earlier at the height of the war owing to safety, transport and bureaucracy issues. The animals that survived tended to be the larger animals, including bears, hyenas, lions and tigers. In the chaos of the war, Anthony used mercenaries to help protect the zoo, and looked after the animals with the help of some of the zookeepers, feeding the carnivores by buying donkeys on the streets of Baghdad. US Army soldiers, Iraqi civilians and various other volunteers including former Republican Guard soldiers came to assist. Eventually L. Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, supported the zoo and American engineers helped to reopen it. Anthony wrote a book about the wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, and the movie rights have been acquired by a major Hollywood production company.

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