Welcome to the first edition of Sustainable.co.za’s book club! Today we’re taking a look at 3 books written by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who sadly passed away last year. You can also stand the chance to win a copy of The Last Rhinos through our Sustainable.co.za and Reader’s Warehouse competition! Entry details can be found at the end of this post.
Babylon’s Ark is an incredible book detailing Anthony’s attempts to rescue the animals of the Baghdad Zoo at the height of the Iraq invasion in 2003. His adventures range from the hilarious – directing a pride of running ostriches through a shoot-to-kill checkpoint, leaving soldiers slack-jawed in amazement, to the heart-breaking – saving a pride of Saddam Hussein’s lions, closing a black-market zoo, and desperately trying to feed the starving animals. With help from compassionate civilians, soldiers and zoo staff, Anthony achieves the seemingly-impossible task of preserving the Baghdad Zoo, whilst facing bullets, bombed-out buildings and the overwhelming challenges that come with working in a warzone.
The Elephant Whisperer
Perhaps Lawrence Anthony’s best known book, The Elephant Whisperer is a delightful tale of a herd of wild elephants, who are taken in at Anthony’s Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand as a last resort (no pun intended!). After continuously breaking the boundary fences of other enclosures, the elephants are considered unpredictable and will be put to death if they escape again.
What follows is a heart-warming depiction of life in an elephant herd – their family relationships, their unique personalities and special sixth-sense traits. From the matriarch of the herd, Nana, to the feisty Frankie and the dignified Nandi, readers are caught up in the remarkable bond that Anthony forms with these iconic creatures.
In the epilogue of the book, Anthony writes that the younger generation of elephants will not be exposed to human contact:
“They are going to grow up just as I wanted my original group to. Wild. If there is one thing I disapprove of it’s the unnatural capture and taming of wild animals, whether an elephant or a bird. To me, the only good cage is an empty cage.”
The Last Rhinos
In Lawrence Anthony’s last book, he tackles the topical issues of rhino poaching and their potential extinction. Leading an armed response against poachers attacking his own game reserve, Anthony also travels to a remote area in the Congo in an effort to save the last of the northern white rhinos remaining in the wild. Apart from the unrelenting demand for rhino horn in the Far East, leading to the skyrocketing number of poached rhinos over the past few years, Anthony’s problems were further exacerbated by the fact that the rhinos were located in a region controlled by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army. The book follows his efforts to negotiate some kind of conservation effort with the rebel group, occasionally landing himself in some rather hair-raising situations.
The Last Rhinos deals with the community impact of poaching, and examines the difficulty of implementing any kind of conservation programme in areas devastated by war.
The Earth Organisation
Anthony’s legacy lives on through his non-profit group, The Earth Organisation
, dedicated to creating a healthy, habitable planet which fosters life and protects our animal and plant species.
Famous Last Words
We truly do live in a global village. The oxygen we breathe today or the pollution darkening our sky can come in overnight on winds from a country thousands of miles away. The wholesale destruction of nature on huge tracts of the planet’s surface impacts on everyone, everywhere, and must now be impeded by sensible international laws. There is no higher imperative...Perhaps if enough individuals find out what is actually going on for themselves and start doing something about it, then maybe we can stave off the fast-advancing crisis and create a beautiful, healthy, livable planet.
These books make a great Christmas gift for nature lovers, so if you’re looking to buy a copy, do visit the Readers Warehouse website
and order yours!
Terms and Conditions
1. This competition is sponsored by Sustainable.co.za and Reader’s Warehouse.
2. By entering this competition, you agree to the rules set out below.
3. The competition is not open to: (a) Directors, members, partners, agents, employees or consultants of the Sustainable.co.za or Reader’s Warehouse brands, or any supplier of goods or services in connection with the competition and (b) Spouses, life partners, business partners or associates, or the natural or adopted parents, children, or siblings, of any of the persons specified above.
4. The competition is open to all South African citizens and permanent residents of the age of 18 years or older.
5. The competition commences on 9th December 2013 and closes on 23rd
6. The competition prize is The Last Rhinos
by Lawrence Anthony.
7. Winners will be announced on the Sustainable.co.za
blog on Friday the 3rd
of January 2014.
8. The winners will be chosen randomly by a number generator and notified on Facebook. They will be required to email their name and contact details to email@example.com. Arrangements will then be made for the delivery of the prize.
9. To enter the competition, each participant must: Like the competition Facebook post or blog post.
10. Failure to respond to the Facebook message/post by email by Wednesday the 8th
of January 2014 will result in the prize being forfeited and an alternative winner being chosen.
11. The prize is not transferable. No substitution, cash redemption or assignment of prize is permitted. But the organisers of the competition reserve the right to substitute the prize with one of comparable value for any reason.
12. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
13. Winners agree to the disclosure of their identity on Facebook and any other publication selected by Sustainable.co.za and Reader’s Warehouse.