Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants.
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.
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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Shelves: auto-and-biography , non-fiction , animals , kindle. For over 25 years, Daphne and David Sheldrick worked together to nurture orphans of various different wild species, and release them back into the wild. Concentrating on elephants and rhinos, they also rescued buffaloes, zebra, eland, kudu, impala, warthogs and many other smaller animals. Species are protected by law here, and the work to rescue individuals and species and figh For over 25 years, Daphne and David Sheldrick worked together to nurture orphans of various different wild species, and release them back into the wild.
Species are protected by law here, and the work to rescue individuals and species and fight the poaching continues tirelessly, with Daphne at the helm, although she is now over 80 years old. In she was awarded the DBE by the Queen. An African Love Story , published in , is the story of her life. Daphne Sheldrick begins her autobiography with an anecdotal prologue. Searching in the Tsavo bush for a particular elephant, Eleanor, with whom she had had a special trusting relationship for many years, she had a very different encounter. What happened was so startling and dramatic, that it made Daphne resolve to write down all her experiences, for the world to read.
She was the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants and the knowledge she had gained from a life-long observation of these gentle, intelligent, powerful creatures - so close to humans in their family structure, but so superior to humans in many uncanny ways - needed to be shared. It is a chronicle of those early pioneering days of the settlers from Britain, describing their tenacity and fortitude. By the British Government had decided to make speed up progress in one of their colonies, Kenya, by expanding a single track beyond Nairobi, getting white settlers in to increase trade, and build a railway.
The Governor made a proposition to Daphne's great-uncle. If twenty families for Britain would relocate to Kenya, then the government would give them free land on which to settle. The story of how the family came to be living in Kenya was handed down from generation to generation. She makes a good job of bringing these historical figures to life, with all their quirks and spirit intact, as they lived their lives of self-sufficiency. Then follows Daphne's childhood, her upbringing, and frequent tales of her indomitable family.
Animals surrounded her from a very early age, rabbits, cats, chicks and ducklings, a mongoose named Ricky-Ticky-Tavey and an orphaned baby bushbuck or antelope she called Bushy, and later on Punda, a tiny zebra foal. By the time she was six, Daphne had already learned through experience the joys and sorrows of rearing baby animals.
Diary of a Wildlife Photographer Book
She also had to grow up very quickly, as World War II was under way, and her father was assigned by the Government to kill thousands of wildebeast and zebras within a game reserve to provide food for the troops. Daphne relates how she went to boarding school, grew up, fell in love, and married her sweetheart Bill.
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The bias of the book is still very much towards Daphne's personal life. Shortly after the war the political climate was changing, and there was growing unrest from the Mau Mau, an underground faction within the Kikuyu tribe. Rather than brutal foreign colonisers, we and our ancestors were humane and totally honourable pioneers who had braved the unknown and, with blood, sweat and toil, brought progress to darkest Africa, promising law and order and good governance under benign British rule. Many of the Kikuyu tribe were on the same side as the whites, and whether this is because the tribesmen were willingly loyal, bribed, or victims of oppression is hard to say.
It is difficult now to find unbiased comment on colonial times. Every day he became weaker until he died. Later it transpired that the Mau Mau had ordered him to kill all the family, and because he refused, he had had a death curse put on him, which he had believed. It was thought that he was the mastermind behind the Mau Mau uprising. The loyalist faction of the Kikuyu tribe bore the brunt of the carnage, culminating in the Lari massacre Labelled the White Tribe of Africa, we were rapidly losing our stake in the country we viewed as home and could never be truly British again, due to long isolation in Africa.
Nor could we be truly African either, because of colour and culture. Bill, with a team of soldiers from the Kenyan Regiment, recruited Waliangulu former elephant poachers; bushmen who were expert trackers, to infiltrate the gangs and bring an end to the massacres. In a new man arrived to head the new National Park in Tsavo. His name was David Sheldrick.
No other Park in the country was as fraught with such obstacles, and yet, David told us, he had to fight for a reasonable portion of funds for its development. She worked in the office producing reports, inevitably working very closely with David, admiring his knowledge and tenacity. He was passionately committed to wildlife care. Areas outside Tsava were classified as hunting blocks, with approval from the Government. Provided hunters paid a fee, they were licensed to kill any animals which were named on their license.
David was particularly intolerant of the professional hunters who skulked around the periphery of the Park hoping that one of its magnificent giants would put a foot across the border. I felt a sense of embarrassment that Bill derived so much pleasure from shooting an elephant There had been a time when David had also hunted elephants It was becoming obvious from our travels around the Park that the elephants were responsible for large-scale destruction of vegetation through their feeding habits and travel patterns.
Fortunately this did not happen, however, and David was awarded the MBE in , shortly after a surrender by one of the chief poachers.
This part of the book points up the complexity of the issue. Rich people wanting more and more are responsible. Like you, I fear the demise of the elephants, for they are at the core of our culture and our daily lives. Always the Walianagulu have lived among elephants and have hunted them honourably as true men, only targeting large bulls and never killing cow elephants or their babies.
I want no part of that and I swear I will never hunt an elephant again. To this day, no tribesman from that tribe has ever been found poaching, irrespective of their tribal and cultural tradition. The narrative makes it crystal clear that Daphne had fallen in love with David almost from the moment she saw him, although there was no agreement of anything permanent with David.
On the contrary, having had one failed marriage, he had vowed never to be married ever again. Despite their mutual attraction, it looked as if she would never see David Sheldrick again. He intended to give many of the British Colonies in Africa their Independence. It was the quality of life that counted, he said, not the duration. Politically it was an unstable time, especially for the white settlers. Kenya was granted self-goverment by mid, followed by full Independence at the end of the year.
Daphne was in danger of being classed as an alien. Unfortunately for the Sheldricks, this did not include any of those who worked in Tsavo National Park. The concern over the burgeoning numbers of elephants continued. The Sheldricks were terrified that the South African method would also be implemented in Tsavo.
Elephants there were shot with the immoblising drug scholine, so that their meat would not be contaminated. Fully conscious, they then had to wait for a gunshot to the head, whilst the men jumped about over the herd of paralysed elephants to get a better vantage point. Film was made of panic-stricken calves, who were destined for zoos or circuses.
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