Sunday, 23 June 2013

A Must Read for the Summer

Elephants, Rhino's and a zoo in a war zone!

These are your summer time Must Reads

It is summer time and we hope to spend many lazy days just hanging about enjoying the glorious much awaited and much needed warmer weather. "Especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere".

Grab a comfy chair, a cuppa tea if you must or glass of wine,  curl up for an afternoon, a day, a week or a couple of months,  of the most (I promise) fabulous reading bliss.  

Below is a brief description of 3 magnificently written books that will take you on a journey into three different parts of the world.  Written descriptively and with a great sense of humour and passion,  you will meet interesting characters, shed a tear or two (sorry), smile with delight, learn about a rescue I bet you never heard anything about and discover a world some of us may never get to see or experience (living within close contact of a rogue elephant herd and the challenges one can face with African communities and wild Africa).

Books for animal lovers, autobiography readers and lover's of Africa  "the elephant whisperer", The Last Rhinoceros and Babylon's Ark - by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence

All these stories are about "the Indiana Jones" of conservation Lawrence Anthony all the way from Thula Thula Game Reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal, Southern Africa.   Stories about Africa "life, loyalty and freedom of a remarkable herd of elephants" (the elephant whisperer), taking action and negotiating with one of the most dangerous men on earth to save the last northern white rhino's living in the Congo (The Last Rhino's) to the "incredible wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo" (Babylon's Ark).

My favourite "the elephant whisperer" a story about a herd of rogue elephants accepted by Lawrence at his game reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal and how through his common sense, love for animals and creation of an unbreakable bond we read and learn about his elephants, their phenomenal communication skills and just how although majestically huge they are, they can be inquisitive and gentle animals with a human being.  I learnt about life on a game reserve, all the trials and tribulations one can face, heartache when faced with the inevitability of nature's course and the thrills and safety issues found in the wild.

Then Lawrence gambles with his life as he heads into a lawless part of Africa in The Last Rhino's heading on a conservation journey in search of the last Northern White Rhino soon to be in extinct in the DRC (Congo). To ensure his and the rhino's safety he negotiates personally with the controversial Lord's Resistance Army of Southern Sudan.  A powerful, enlightening story filled with adventure, courage, laughter, fear and amazement that even in the deepest and darkest part of the Congo Jungle the most feared and most violent of army's,  can understand the importance of nature and it's survival of one of the most wonderful species "significant creatures" to walk this planet the rhinoceros.

My last and final read "Babylon's Ark" a powerful story again of courage from a man, a conservationist, a lover of animals who heads face first into a war zone with one goal in mind to save the animals of the Baghdad Zoo.  Lawrence Anthony is unaware of what will lie ahead as his journey dangerously envelops his every footstep into this unknown war ridden environment but with the help and "selfless courage" of a few Iraqi men and women and US troops we find an uplifting and powerful story that even in the face of absolute destruction, starvation, no water and warfare,  survival and community can still exist.  A remarkable read.

I thoroughly recommend these three books you will not be sorry! 

The plant and animal kingdom and this magnificent planet is most definitely a "tidy business"

Happy summer reading, till next time

Paula C

Ref:  the elephant whisperer, The Last Rhino's and Babylon's Ark

Lawrence Anthony sadly passed away on March 2nd, 2012.  His elephants came to the lodge to say their final goodbye as they do when they mourn the death of one of their own,  a story that touched many African's hearts.    This world has lost a remarkable conservationist I believe a man who should have received a Nobel Prize for his remarkable conservation efforts.  Your work and further stories will be missed.

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