The sequel to The Elephant Whisperer (2009), which was written by Malby-Anthony’s late husband, conservationist Lawrence Anthony.
In 1998, the author and her husband founded Thula Thula, a game reserve in South Africa where they rescued a herd of elephants. But when Lawrence died unexpectedly, Malby-Anthony was faced with the formidable task of continuing their work alone, with a limited ability to speak the native language in a land where few women hold positions of authority. In this endearing and inspirational follow-up to The Elephant Whisperer—written with the assistance of Willemsen (Shepherd’s Prayer, 2012), who grew up in South Africa—Malby-Anthony shares how she not only managed to preserve their elephant herd, but went on to Phase 2 of their dream: opening a nursery for orphaned baby elephants, a hippo who didn’t like water, and rhinos whose mothers had been killed for their horns. The author shares multiple stories about her daunting mission to bring these orphaned animals back from the brink of death due to starvation, dehydration, and simple fear. She discusses the disgusting nature of poaching for horns (“they turned her beautiful face into a gruesome mess of blood and flesh, and she was alive when they did it….They butchered her while she was a breathing, living, feeling rhino”), which command incredible prices on the black market, and the extreme measures she takes in order to protect the animals in her care. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, the game reserve was still brutally attacked. The common threads that run throughout her story are love and respect for these wild animals and the heartwarming nature of the animal families that embrace each other as well as Malby-Anthony and her dogs. The writing is full of vivid descriptions that place readers in the middle of the action, making the book difficult to put down.
An engrossing eye-opener on the fragility of South Africa’s fauna.