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Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story Kindle Edition
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|Length: 353 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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I was not disappointed. In an effort to raise awareness about the plight of the wild animals in Kenya, especially the elephants, the Dame writes about her and David's experiences while he was Game Warden in the south of Kenya in the 50's and 60's, and right up through to the modern day. They, and later, she, raised awareness about and fought (and continue to do so) the poachers who see value in the elephants only for their ivory. David's untimely death 35 years ago, changed the circumstances of Daphne's life, but she is still living and continuing his work with a large menagerie of orphaned animals, most of which are rehabilitated and then encouraged to re-join the wild community. She and her large staff continue to raise orphaned babies and accustom them to the ways of the wild so they can be reunited with their kind when they are healthy and ready.
If you are touched by her work, as I was, there is an opportunity to sponsor one or several of the animals, which helps keep the foundation working toward the preservation of wild life in Kenya.
Despite - or perhaps because of - her colonial context, we see less of black Africa as people. There are black Africans who work and have worked with Dame Sheldrick, but we do not get to know them personally, with small exception. Sheldrick is a native of Kenya, speaks Swahili and has a deep and lasting love of the land and animals. I don't see a personal relationship with the indigenous people, and this element may be challenging for those who are more accustomed to a more modern context. Just as I would make exceptions for an older family member for not having a modern language in talking about people and cultural context, I tried to apply this to Sheldrick.
The stories and victories of the animals she loved, nurtured and lost are truly lovely and often heartbreaking. And her writing and examination of the consequences and risks of the actions taken in the name of conservation and progress are fascinating. If one finds a dying elephant, should he take the tusks to keep them from poachers? With the Park's collection of tusks, should the agency sell them to fund anti-poaching and conservation projects? Or should they be destroyed to aid the progress of banning ivory entirely? There are certainly dilemmas uncovered in this book that will cause you to think and to challenge assumptions.
Truthfully, I'm a little more inclined to rate it 3.5, so I have increased to 4. The proceeds of this book will support a lady who has given her life as a (mostly unpaid) public servant who has made a tremendous difference to the wildlife of Africa. If your purchase funds her comfortable retirement in a modest place and later the lovely baby elephants and Maxwell the rhino, it's a good spend.
The book opens with this quote..."What we are is God's gift to us; what we become is our gift to God." --Anonymous
This book is certainly a great gift from the author to us!
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