Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir of her life in Kenya, developing a sanctuary for orphaned elephants and rhinos, yesterday reached number 3 on the Sunday Times bestseller list, in hardback non-fiction.
Ever since she helped raise an orphaned antelope at the age of three, Dame Daphne Sheldrick has known what her life’s work would be. Back then, Kenya’s population was 4 million. Now Kenya stands at a crossroads, with its population burgeoning at 40 million, and a relationship with its wildlife more strained than ever. This book will be the story of a woman who as fought all her life to protect the country’s wildlife for future generations.
An African Love Story is about animals such as Eleanor, one of the first orphaned elephants which Dame Daphne raised as a calf, and which has now grown up to become the matriarch of her own herd of orphans. It is also about Dame Daphne’s ongoing battle against poachers; the struggle against mass culling of elephants; her tireless campaigning for the banning of the ivory trade.
Finally, it is an elegy for her late husband, David Sheldrick, who ran the Tsavo National Park in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and did much of the pioneering research to show that elephants are intelligent, social creatures. Together, they have changed the face of Kenya, and his legacy lives on in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the charity through which she continues to keep alive his accomplishments and wisdom.
19 Mar 2012