Elephants Remember: A True Story by Jennifer O’Connell (Tilbury House, 2022) tells the true story of the “Elephant Whisperer,” Lawrence Anthony, who ran a wild animal reserve in Zululand, South Africa. Despite the wild nature of a herd of elephants, with Anthony’s care and civility, the herd is able to thrive in his reserve.
When wild elephants disrupt human population centers, they are destined to be killed until Lawrence Anthony speaks up. Even as a director of a wild animal reserve, he had never taken care of elephants. Nevertheless, he allows them to come to his haven rather than be killed. After they arrive, the matriarch led the herd in escaping the enclosure for multiple nights, and Anthony was losing time. Authorities would not allow the elephants to live if they couldn’t be controlled.
He then uses his powers of observation to see just how panicked the herd is. Intuitively, he speaks gently to the matriarch, despite the fact that only a thin fence separates them. As she calms and comes to know him, the elephant herd is able to not just survive in the wild animal reserve but also thrive.
Anthony’s story is so sincere. While I’m not familiar with elephants and their memories, it was very sweet that the matriarch knew him, recognized him, and appreciated him. Further, I love the emphasis that animals have feelings too. They are terrified and frustrated when their world is disturbed. This is a great book for animal lovers!