The Elephant Journal is now ready for download on Amazon

Observational drawings by Henley College student Eleanor C Hill

Observational drawings of elephants

As announced last month, ‘Elephant Journal’ the first of ‘The Young Zoologist’ series written for all wildlife lovers but especially young people who might be considering a  career in zoology or wildlife medicine, is now available on Amazon.  If you are a young person with a driving ambition to study wildlife as a career and dream of following in the footsteps of renowned naturalists such as Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall or Professor Raman Sukumar, then I hope this book will inspire you:

  • What are the different species and types of elephants and the environmental factors which make them distinct?
  • Where can you find pygmy elephants and why are elephants in Namibia different from others?
  • Learn to recognise the danger signals of a charging elephant and discover why male elephants in musth are especially formidable.
  • Read about the largest elephant tusks ever found and why an elephant’s tusks are never the same length.
  • Explore the history, lives and future of working elephants in the forests of Asia and their predicament. Find the latest information on elephant numbers in zoos and how conditions for them have improved.
  • Discover how interactions with elephants can have surprising outcomes: ‘Sometimes elephants contract diseases due to the close relationship between them and the human population. Timber elephants and circus elephants in direct contact with their mahouts or keepers, for example, have contracted human tuberculosis.’

Working with these animals is a huge privilege and this book gives an insight into the dangers and rewards of studying elephants. This book is a first step to joining the ranks of some of the world’s most admired field biologists such as Iain Douglas-Hamilton or Cynthia Moss. The book is also designed as an information portal with links to the best places to see and work with elephants and complements the information and articles here on my blog.  The book contains a number of original sketches of elephants by Henley College student Eleanor Hill as examples of observational drawings.

Have you downloaded the Elephant Journal?  Leave your comments…or reviews here and on Amazon.

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Shanti the elephant occupies her time playing the harmonica.

This is an interesting video from several perspectives: firstly it shows how the tip of an elephant’s trunk can be used for very delicate functions and with great precision: secondly it shows elephants in zoos are capable of amusing themselves in non-feeding/non-maternal activities that adult elephants in the wild would probably not have time for. Thirdly it shows that western zoos still don’t understand that by giving playthings to captive elephants they set an example to zoos in less developed countries that might be construed as condoning the conditioning or training of elephants to perform unnatural activities. Given that this famous zoo has done it, zoos in other parts of the world might interpret that it is ‘OK’ to train their elephants to do tricks and charge money for it. I have seen it happen.

Protecting Thailand’s elephants from the horrors of landmines

This, unfortunately, is not the first time an elephant has stepped on a landmine. Asia is riddled with them, particularly in Burma (Myanmar) where the Burmese army is fighting an insurgency against the Karen who live along the Burma/Thailand border. Mines are also in abundance in Cambodia and Laos. Injuries like this take months to heal and the main dangers are sepsis, maggots and injuries/strain to the other leg which then has to bear the wieght of two limbs for a long time. The only good news here is that this was a tame animal that could be handled and treated: a wild elephant wouldn’t stand a chance (if ever found). All credit due to the team of vets and managers who helped this particular animal. Sadly I feel their skills will be required again in the future.