MASSACRE OF THE ELEPHANTS by Dennis Holman

MASSACRE OF THE ELEPHANTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the story of the crackdown on ivory poachers in Southeastern Kenya as carried on by game warden Bill Woodley. As a young man Woodley shot the ""Big Five""--rhinoceros, lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant--but the experience finally palled. Only nineteen, he joined the small staff of the newly formed Tsavo National Park and took up conservation of wild life. His first job was tremendously disheartening and he made his boners. Elephants were being slaughtered by the hundreds in what was euphemistically called ""the Ivory Game."" Among the main offenders were members of a tribe called the Liangulu, who hunted with poisoned arrows fired from the most intractable bows in the world (about a 120-lb. pull). The Liangulu were nomads who simply camped by a carcass and ate until it was demolished. Poachers, though, would only take the ivory, a few tender cuts and leave the beast to rot. And they were no respecters of size or age. Almost entirely on his own, Woodley began rounding up outlaws, poison-makers, and illicit traders, using his own rangers and eventually setting up a system of patrols. Several of the natives he met were astute bushmen, wise and skilled, and his admiration for them is well rendered. Mainly, though, it is the elephants that capture the imagination, usually with a twinge of sadness as the great beasts are wounded, go mad or die.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1966
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston