Book review: Wild is Life – Reaching out (by Sally Carney)

Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Front cover of Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Wild is Life – Reaching Out is about an animal sanctuary that has grown out of the turmoil that swept through Zimbabwe a few years before the millennium.

It is an inspiring, intimate photographic record of a home-made haven that started small – mongoose size – and then stretched. By the end of the book it is giraffe high … and the elephants have come.

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Update: Zimbabwe’s wild-born elephants flown to China

A baby elephant and family

“… But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curiosities …”
(Rudyard Kipling’s ‘ The Elephant’s Child’)

A deal has been done – a sale has been agreed and the animals delivered … but not everyone is happy. The animals sold are young, wild-born Zimbabwean elephants, and the buyer is China.

Zimbabwe is selling not just the family jewels, it’s selling family.  It is exporting them as though they were goods, to a remote land that has little experience of the needs of this great, intelligent species.

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An elephant, a bird, and an offer

Carved elephant

An irresistible elephant

I wasn’t looking for any of the above but somehow they found me.  That’s what Naples does.

My elephant – she’s now mine – spent days for sale on the steep, wintery steps outside the huge post office near the city centre.

I passed her twice a week en route to class.  It was hard to miss her.  My head was full of elephants and there she was, big and awkward in amongst the trinkets and faded pictures.

Then yesterday, on an impulse, I roped together my Italian and my courage, and paused.

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Ségolène Royal says no to Zimbabwe’s elephants

Screen shot of statement from Ségolène Royal

Ségolène Royal says no to Zimbabwe’s elephants

In a statement released this evening Ségolène Royal, France’s minister for “l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie” clarifies that she will not authorise the import into France of elephants from Zimbabwe.

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The tragic power of elephants

The Sultan's Elephant in London

‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ by Royal de Luxe, produced in London in 2006 by Artichoke. Photo copyright Sophie Laslett.

It all began on one of those long weekends when no-one was looking.  To start with it was just an ordinary, empty day – too busy to see.

Then, suddenly, people started to hear things, they started to wonder … because … wasn’t that … did they really hear an elephant?

It was.  It was the Sultan’s Elephant.  This is a true story.

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Zimbabwe’s elephants – update on how to help

Baby elephant

Food and protection in the wild

It’s not easy to face the suffering of animals yet millions of people around the world have looked in on the bleak future planned for over fifty of  Zimbabwe’s young elephants.  It’s a desperate situation but there is a way to help.

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Dear Devoted Friend – Reply to: “Dear Elephant, Sir”

Wild elephant

The elephant – “a symbol of purity, a dream of paradise lost” (words of Romain Gary in Dear Elephant, Sir)

In 1967 Romain Gary wrote an article that LIFE magazine described as “a love letter to an old companion”.  The piece was entitled “Dear Elephant, Sir”.  Almost half a century later I, with great nervousness, have attempted a reply on behalf of the elephant.  Romain Gary signed off his letter to the elephant with the words “Your very devoted friend” and then his name.

 

Dear Devoted Friend,

Should you ever read this letter you may wonder what took me so long to reply.  I trust that you did not think that I would forget.

The reason for my letter is of course self-preservation.  I, like you, know that our destinies are linked.

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