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*Read Book Ø An African Love Story ⚧ Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand reared newborn elephants Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death 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 sharedthan 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 It was their deep and passionate love, David s extraordinary insight into all aspects of nature, and the tragedy of his early death that inspired Daphne s vast array of achievements, most notably the founding of the world renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Orphans Nursery in Nairobi National Park, where Daphne continues to live and work to this day Encompassing not only David and Daphne s tireless campaign for an end to poaching and for conserving Kenya s wildlife, but also their ability to engage with the human side of animals and their rearing of the orphans expressly so they can return to the wild, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing a rare insight into the life of one of the world s most remarkable women. The Boston Globe warns readers they might be tempted after the last page to sell their possessions and join the author s cause.They are right.This book packs a wallop It is the story of a woman born and raised in Africa Who eventually finds herself madly and deeply in love with a man who shares her passions Together, they rally to create sanctuaries for a once abundant and replete wildlife All of it against the backdrop of a heartbreaking and incredible fight for the preservation and protection of elephants.As her story ensues, my heart was quickly consumed by every animal she offered refuge with hopes for rehabilitation, especially the elephants And the depth of feeling and understanding the animals possess, which she explains through one unforgettable story after another, is nothing short of fascinating Beautiful, stunning, and moving Easily a favorite read for 2013. 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 After David s death Daphne famously founded the Tsavo National Park, now a huge area spreading over 8,000 square miles 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 2006 she was awarded the DBE by the Queen An African Love Story, published in 2012, 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 The book flashes back to when Daphne Sheldrick s family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s It is a chronicle of those early pioneering days of the settlers from Britain, describing their tenacity and fortitude By 1907 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.Those families were Daphne s ancestors, Great Granny and Great Grandpa Aggett, plus all their children and children s children 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 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 The bias of the book is still very much towards Daphne s personal life But intertwined with this is is an account of Kenya s turbulent political situation 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 It was impossible for Granny Chat, or any of us white Kenyans for that matter, to accept the Mau Mau view of the settlers as illegal intruders 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 Resenting the British settlers, the Mau Mau made attacks on livestock and property, which became increasingly barbaric 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 Anyone resisting the Mau Mau were subject to attacks which, became brutal, barbaric and savage, with murder and mutilation turning into almost daily events One member of the Wakamba tribe called Kinada, became sick and no doctors could find anything wrong 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 The family employed tribesmen who weren t aligned to the Kikuyu, Embu or Meyu, to guard them at night, but it did not stop a savage attack on the grandparents, who were, assumed dead, clubbed into unconsciousness and left lying in pools of blood Their neighbours were hacked into little pieces In 1952 Jomo Kenyatta, who ironically was later to become Independent Kenya s first President, was imprisoned It was thought that he was the mastermind behind the Mau Mau uprising Terror stalked the country The loyalist faction of the Kikuyu tribe bore the brunt of the carnage, culminating in the Lari massacre over 100 men women and children decapitated and left as a sinister warning to other Government supporters British troops were shipped over to help quell the Mau Mau, There was resentment at the overtly sympathetic views of many of the British servicemen towards the Mau Mau cause and their condemnation of us settlers as a privileged elite who had no real right to be in Kenya in the first place 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 By now Daphne was 21, married to Bill, and with a baby, Jill The couple were working together with Daphne s brother Peter 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 1955 a new man arrived to head the new National Park in Tsavo His name was David Sheldrick Tsavo was by far the largest Park in Kenya, the most remote, the most unknown, the most untouched uninhabited, shunned by all except the ruthless bands of professional poachers in pursuit of ivory and rhino horn 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 The middle section of the book details Daphne s personal life, and the crumbling marriage she had with Bill She worked in the office producing reports, inevitably working very closely with David, admiring his knowledge and tenacity The book is now far about the preservation of Kenya s natural habitat, including stories about the individual animals which the Sheldricks rescued, such as Samson and Fatuma, the first orphaned elephant calves in Kenya known outside zoos Daphne was learning much from David s deep understanding of elephants, sometimes in exact contradiction of what was perceived to be already known about their behaviour He was passionately committed to wildlife care.Bill meanwhile, established a highly trained disciplined unit he called the Field Force , an extremely effective anti poaching unit that would prove the blueprint for all the other National Park forces in East Africa Tsavo was renowned for its elephant and black rhinos in fact there were black rhinos in the Park than in anywhere else in the whole of Africa, as well as some of the largest tusked elephants in the world, giants that carried over 100lb of ivory on each side And of course, this is why the area was a poacher s paradise 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 Discipline within the Game Department was lax, with a great deal of shooting for the pot condoned and even practised among the officers, many of whom had joined because they enjoyed the hunt that because they held any ideals on conservation 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 but since acquiring Samson and Fatuma, and as Warden of Tsavo learning so much about them, nothing was further from his mind After such vigilance against the poachers, there was a drawback, a negative spin off from the campaign, for having made the Park secure for elephants, many were coming in from outlying areas, especially from places where the human population was expanding 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 They were dreading being forced to follow South Africa s example, culling their animals on a regular basis in order to keep the population at a fixed level, processing the carcasses for tinned pet food Fortunately this did not happen, however, and David was awarded the MBE in 1959, shortly after a surrender by one of the chief poachers This part of the book points up the complexity of the issue An important member of the Waliangulu tribe, Galogalo Kafonde said, The elephants are finished Rich people wanting and 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 Now others who do not care about them kill them clumsily for mere gain I want no part of that and I swear I will never hunt an elephant again These were true words 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 After about six years, Daphne s marriage to Bill was over, and Daphne moved temporarily to live with her sister Sheila, and work in an office in Nairobi, in 1958 Despite their mutual attraction, it looked as if she would never see David Sheldrick again On a visit back to Tsavo, the devastation to the environment caused by the elephants seemed very clear to Daphne, tree debris lay in tangled heaps on bare baked soil baobabs were actually gouged out, with some even felled entirely and it looked as if a third of the elephant population of Tsavo would have to go.The Conservative British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan made his Winds of Change speech He intended to give many of the British Colonies in Africa their Independence With this double threat hanging over their heads, in 1960, Daphne married David in Mombasa, and they lived together in the Warden s house, It must have been puzzling for Frederick the cook, and other members of the household to find Bwana Bill s former wife metamorphosed into the lady of the house and David s wife The couple were very much in love, and both totally committed to wildlife conservation Daphne cared for many orphans in these days, such as Rufus, a newly born rhino calf, and Higglety, a banded mongoose, so called because he moved in a higglety pigglety fashion He eventually responded to the call of the wild, Higglety had returned to where he rightfully belonged, and as David reminded me, this was cause for celebration, not self pity It was the quality of life that counted, he said, not the duration These were prescient words, as it was to turn out.There was a civet cat named Old Spice , since a rub from David s aftershave sent him into a rubbing and jumping frenzy , Oliver Twist, a baby swift who had fallen out of his nest, Abdul, a baby bulbul, Puffin, a little puff backed shrike, and Red Head, a red headed weaver bird.Politically it was an unstable time, especially for the white settlers Kenya was granted self goverment by mid 1963, followed by full Independence at the end of the year Daphne was in danger of being classed as an alien Many whites, remembering the bad times of the Mau Mau massacres, moved to countries such as Rhodesia, South Africa, Australia, Canada or Britain Any former British Government workers who chose to stay, and became Africanised would receive financial compensation plus a pension Unfortunately for the Sheldricks, this did not include any of those who worked in Tsavo National Park Pregnant with Angela, Daphne found herself caring for a zebra foal, Hupperty The concern over the burgeoning numbers of elephants continued Their decimation of Tsavo s vegetation was threatening the browsing species such as gerenuk, kudu, dikdiks and rhinos 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 The tiniest calves, those still dependent on milk, were slaughtered last Once the entire family was dead, they would be butchered for their meat This was an annual event, and the South African elephants had learned that when a helicopter arrived, they should run for their lives.The army helped to count the elephants in Tsavo 9000 instead of the estimated 5000, and 15000 in a square area of 16000 miles David did a lot of research, reading the record made by the early settlers, and became convinced by his own observations, that this was part of a cycle, what we were witnessing was simply the reoccurrence of a perfectly natural vegetation cycle woodland thicket to grassland and grassland back to woodland thicket, all triggered by the elephants having knocked out the trees to enable grasses to emerge for the grazing species, having planted another generation of trees in their dung, etc He argued that this greater biodiversity would also have tourist appeal A visiting naturalist said that grassland in Tsavo would be beneficial than the dense commiphora thicket, and agreed that the elephants should be left alone that observing the course of Nature was a much better option However, some of Kenya s most prominent and powerful citizens were beginning to trade in ivory, and corruption was rife A scientific study was commissioned, which involved isolating and shoot identified entire familes It was a grim time, when they felt a betrayal of all the trust they had engendered in these elephants Fortunately all eventually agreed with David s view.The story continues with delight and joy, sadness and tragedy There was the famous Eleanor, born in 1961, who grew to be the matriarch, fostering all the younger elephants Also two young bull elephants, Rarau and Bukanezi, joined Samson s herd We learn of Reudi, a rhino, assorted ostriches, antelopes, Wiffle, a dikdik, and Lollipa, a buffalo calf A bad tempered little rhino was suitably called Stroppie, and a feisty newborn zebra, Punda, tiny orphan elephants were called Sobo and Gulliver, Baby was an eland A beautiful impala called Bunty bridged the wildlife gap, giving birth to her wild young with Daphne close by Yet in the middle of all this activity in 1970 a drought caused the deaths of thousands of animals.By the 1970s the Tsavo National Park had been established as a tourist attraction, but the poaching continued Around 500,000 in 1972, Kenya s elephant population had fallen to 300,000 a year later due to the increase in the price of ivory on the stock market, much of it going to China on the black market Daphne s account of the death she witnessed of one elephant is profoundly moving, The death of this great elephant evoked in us a lament for all the wild creatures of Africa and the vanishing wilderness that had protected and sheltered them for so long It was symbolic of the tenuous future all wildlife faced in a continent where poverty bred corruption and greedy people in faraway lands created the demand the fuelled the killing The bull s very size and magnificence heightened the sense of tragedy, for there is nothing so profoundly dead as a five ton elephant with the allotted lifespan of a human, who has died before his time simply to supply some unthinking Westerner with a trinket The catalogue of orphan deaths escalates Seeming to accept the formula milk to start with, they then rapidly declined Daphne grew to dread the sunken eye sockets, pronouced cheekbones and feebleness she knew only had one end One favourite, Shmetty so named after the German for butterfly, schmetterling after her ears was following this same path In desperation Daphne remembered that coconut oil was said to be closest to the fat in elephant s milk, so she tried that Incredibly it worked, and this formula is used even now In 1976 came a new disaster The National Parks were amalgamated with the National Game Dept David was assigned a supervisory post, in charge of National Reserves, away from Tsavo, abandoning thirty years of painstaking work and leaving the elephant and rhino population at the mercy of poachers and their corrupt masters The rhinos Pushmi and Stroppie were relocated at a ranch, along with Reudi, as rhino horn was such a prime target that they would have stood no chance Most of the animals however, including Bunty, Eleanor, Raru and Bukanezi were left behind It was shortly after this move that David clearly became unwell, although he was in denial about any problem, as he wanted to keep leading the same active life that he always had He died a few months later in 1977.Within a few months Daphne had been commissioned to write wildlife articles for the country s Wildlife Clubs, and been given permission to erect a bungalow in the Nairobi National Park, so that she could continue working with animals An appeal was set up, called the David Sheldrick Memorial Appeal, and the seeds of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust were sown Daphne continues to live and work there to this day, continuing to fight poaching, and promote animal welfare, wildlife conservation and community awareness.This is an important book, about a remarkable person, but it is not an easy read The three components, Kenya s political history, Daphne s personal life about which she is remarkably frank and the animal conservation side are probably about equally balanced In places it is heart breaking, but the sheer determination of the author to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles shines through.
Daphne Sheldrick s passion and compassion for LOVE.LIFE.and ELEPHANTS is energizing In this memoir, Daphne teaches us about love She teaches us about life And she certainly teaches us about elephants She s kinda an expert AhIf you think I m saying she is kinda an expert on elephants Yes Highly trained and skilled as she raised orphaned elephants and reintegrated them into the wild , but Daphne is also kinda an expert on love and life as well In the area of love she teaches us about the different types of love, changing love, the and trusting one s inner voice even if the results lead to new action that feels risky and scary Daphne and her husband David, lovers and soulmates , had the type of relationship that made a difference in the world They had purpose in their lives Their drive direction action with a purpose..created a win win situation for all Their children and grandchildren grew up with the same values passionate love serves purpose in the world Great purpose in the world serves romantic love It s a full circle love purpose powerful way to live a rich life the most satisfying love there is In the area of lifeDaphne was born into the type of family where children s greatness blossom.Lots of animalswide open space to play and explore From her mother she learned the value of hard worktaking care of farmyard animals domestic duties and gardening Her father was remote but he too was always busy involved on the farm She grew up in a self contained family but they were a family known for their hospitality and often had many visitors Her father came alive when friends and neighbors were over telling them amusing stories As a child she learned and observed from her parents They work hard and enjoy life Both As an adult Daphne also worked hard but enjoyment and love was never taken for granted.From her grandparentsespecially her Granny Webb, she learned wisdom, spirituality, a love for music and delicious foods In the area of ElephantsRaising an elephant is quite involved Feedings are every three and four hours A calf needs to be dependent on milk for the first three years David Daphne came up with the only milk formula which kept the elephants alive It wasn t only elephants they were saving, but rhinos as well Daphne set up The Orphans Project , Fostering Unit, The Vet Unit, Community Outreach, and The Art Store Set in motion One of Daphne s daughter will take over after her death Anyone can adopt a baby elephant for 50 a year When a baby elephant was rescued and then reunited with a herd which she was separated from for many years was such a touching story I had tears in my eyes Those tears continued at the end of the book where we were treated to see many wonderful photos I m glad these photos were at the end of this story I had a deeper emotional tie with the family members Africa and the elephants the end So.., the photos were frosting on the cake I still remember my favorite elephant Her name was Effie She lived at the Oakland Zoo, in California Grand memories of Effie The few photos I have of my dad before he died was of me dad and Effie I was about 3 years old with a little round belly but Effie s belly was bigger A wonderful not ordinary book Disclaimer I have visited and given money to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and so should you Daphne Sheldrick has made a major contribution to wildlife conservation and her work is to be applauded Her memoir is a somewhat conventional Out of Africa story hardy pioneers, gauzy sunsets, magnificent vistas, and lots of lots of stories about the animals who have come her way She was obviously deeply in love with David, and yet he strangely remains a somewhat remote character He is defined by his deeds, as he and other rangers carve out Kenya s wildlife parks and reserves and heroically try to stop the decimation of the wildlife caused by our insatiable demand for trinkets made from ivory and potions made from rhino horn.It s hard to criticize a book for what it does NOT say, but, having worked for over ten years with another Kenyan conservationist, Wangari Maathai, I have a very different perspective on the history of Kenya that Dame Daphne covers If you haven t read Maathai s memoir, Unbowed, I would recommend it What struck me most noticeably in Dame Daphne s story was the almost complete absence of black Kenyans Nearly all of the main characters are white and of British stock The Mau Mau rebellion is treated as an affront against white settlers Daphne s daughter studies in South Africa, and some of her relatives retire there to live, but there is only one reference to Apartheid We get no sense of the conservation movement in the context of Kenya as an independent country We do not hear from black Kenyan political figures or the press or, indeed, from the poachers We never learn the biographies of the black attendants who look after and even live with the animals Tribes are mentioned in connection with their hunting practices, but these Africans are rarely individualized It s almost as if they re simply background for the white people s attempts to save the animals.None of this, I m sure, is done deliberately Dame Daphne speaks Swahili and has lived in Africa all her life Many of the white people she worked with were born in Africa Yet she considers herself British first and foremost and she appears to share the bitterness of the settlers in southern Africa who felt sold out by British government as it retreated from Empire in the fifties and sixties The animals she has spent her life rescuing have personalities and biographies, and her life with them is fondly and deeply remembered It s a pity that all those black Africans who helped her all those years couldn t have been afforded the same attention.