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Cover image for Love, life, and elephants : an African love story
Love, life, and elephants : an African love story
1st American ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
Physical Description:
xviii, 334 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in 2012 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin books, Great Britain, as An African Love Story: Love, Life and Elephants"--Title page verso.

Includes index.
Settlers -- Childhood -- Growing up -- Married life -- Falling in love -- Decisions -- New beginnings -- Love and orphans -- Settled -- Conflict -- Discovery -- Expansion -- Turmoil -- Grief -- Growth -- Achievement -- Epilogue : David.
A conservationist who has dedicated her life to saving orphan elephants in Africa describes her relationships with her late husband, Tsavo Park warden David Sheldrick, and a host of animals, including the majestic elephant, Eleanor.


Call Number
921 Sheldrick, Daphne 2012
639.979 Sheldrick
921 SHELDRICK 2012
92 Sheldrick, Daphne J. 2012

On Order



Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya's rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.

In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous zebra; and the majestic elephant Eleanor, with whom Daphne has shared more than forty years of great friendship.

But this is also a magical and heartbreaking human love story between Daphne and David Sheldrick, the famous Tsavo Park warden. It was their deep and passionate love, David's extraordinary insight into all aspects of nature, and the tragedy of his early death that inspired Daphne's vast array of achievements, most notably the founding of the world-renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Orphans' Nursery in Nairobi National Park, where Daphne continues to live and work to this day.

Encompassing not only David and Daphne's tireless campaign for an end to poaching and for conserving Kenya's wildlife, but also their ability to engage with the human side of animals and their rearing of the orphans expressly so they can return to the wild, Love, Life, and Elephants is alive with compassion and humor, providing a rare insight into the life of one of the world's most remarkable women.

Author Notes

Daphne Sheldrick was born Daphne Jenkins on June 4, 1934 in Kenya, which was still a British colony. She became a wildlife conservationist and was an important voice in the movement to save the declining elephant population and raise awareness about poaching. She lived at the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya with her husband. After his death, she founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

She wrote several books including The Orphans of Tsavo, An Elephant Called Eleanor, and Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. The work done by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was the focus of the British series Elephant Diaries and the documentary Born to Be Wild. In 2006, she was given the title of dame commander by Queen Elizabeth II. Sheldrick died from breast cancer on April 12, 2018 at the age of 83.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Conservationist Sheldrick (Animal Kingdom) gives a lyrical yet droll voice to her rollicking life in Kenya, where she has spent more than 50 years rehabilitating orphaned wildlife. After a peaceable divorce from her first husband, the author marries David Sheldrick, warden of Tsavo National Park, a relationship rooted in their shared passion for assisting feral creatures and preserving the natural world. Against the backdrop of the Mau Mau rebellion and the dawn of the Republic of Kenya, Sheldrick rears two daughters and acclimates to a range of extraordinary new living arrangements that enable David to develop Tsavo into a haven for both animals and eco-tourists. In addition to peppering the book with tender anecdotes about her quirky animal crew (especially Eleanor, her elephant companion of more than 40 years), Sheldrick forcefully captures the conflicts David faces at Tsavo: fighting ivory poachers, agonizing over a mandated elephant slaughter, and challenging a research team planning a needless elephant cull. After her husband's death, Sheldrick becomes chair of the internationally known David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and keeps busy caring for orphaned animals whom she calls "my solace, my companions, and my sanity." This rich memoir offers practical insights about learning when to intervene and when to let go. Agent: Patrick Conville, Conville and Walsh. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A heartfelt memoir about the author's decades-long efforts to save baby elephants. At 17, the author traveled to Kenya's Tsavo National Park, one of the world's largest game reserves, and briefly met David Sheldrick, the park's first warden. The two met again on her following visit a few years later, when she was newly married with an infant daughter. Sheldrick felt an instant attraction to David, 15 years her senior, and a major arc of the book follows their love story and marriage. As co-wardens of the park from 1955 to 1976, they devoted an enormous amount of energy campaigning against the ivory industry and to raising and reintegrating orphaned animals back into the wild. An internationally recognized and awarded expert in animal husbandry, Sheldrick is the first person to have perfected the milk formula for baby elephants and rhinos and the first person to have hand-reared newborn elephants. In 1976, David was given a supervisory role over all of Kenya's parks, and the couple relocated to National Nairobi Parksadly, David died of a heart attack a year later. Unexpectedly widowed, Sheldrick founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to continue her husband's legacy of fighting to protect elephants, rhinos and other animals from poachers. While mourning her husband, the author found solace in her conservation efforts. "The wild animals were my solace, my companions and my sanity, and because of them I was never entirely alone," she writes. Her stories about specific elephants are deeply touching. Fascinating, especially to readers interested in wildlife conservation and the rehabilitation of elephants.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

When Sheldrick (not yet a Dame Commander of the British Empire) fostered milk-dependent orphaned elephants in Tsavo National Park in Kenya in the 1960s, she faced almost certain heartbreak. Unlike the impala, mongoose, dik-diks, and other small mammals that she had raised, baby elephants do not tolerate cow's milk. Undeterred by repeated failure, she tested new formulas until she successfully saved tiny, fuzz-covered Shmetty in 1974. Since then, she and her team of keepers outside Nairobi have raised more than 200 orphaned elephants, many of whom have returned to the wild. In this highly personal autobiography, she recounts a lifetime of fostering orphan mammals, reptiles, and birds while raising a family and helping her valiant husband develop Kenya's national parks in an era of political turmoil and rampant poaching. Filled with eyewitness accounts of African conservation, astute wildlife observations, and a touching love story, Sheldrick's book will delight nature-loving readers.--Roche, Rick Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In engrossing detail and with empathy and humor, conservationist Dame Daphne Sheldrick (former co-warden, Tsavo National Park, Kenya) recounts not only her ancestors' original settlement in Kenya but also her own life and childhood. After a short, failed marriage, she fell in love with David Sheldrick (1919-77), the renowned game warden notable for his passion for conservation and study of animal behavior. The couple dedicated themselves to antipoaching efforts, establishing national park status for the Tsavo Game Preserves, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned wildlife. After suffering nearly fatal injuries inflicted by an elephant that led to surgeries, bone grafts, and months of therapy, Dame Daphne learned to walk again. The experience prompted her to write this book so that she could pass on her knowledge and understanding of Kenya and its wildlife as a legacy. VERDICT What unfolds between these covers is both an intimate look at a woman and her family and an enlightening tour of the history-human and natural-and cultures of Kenya. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 11/7/11.]-Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Mapsp. xii
Prologuep. xv
1 Settlersp. 1
2 Childhoodp. 18
3 Growing Upp. 38
4 Married Lifep. 58
5 Falling in Lovep. 73
6 Decisionsp. 72
7 New Beginningsp. 110
8 Love and Orphansp. 128
9 Settledp. 149
10 Conflictp. 192
11 Discoveryp. 210
12 Expansionp. 210
13 Turmoilp. 229
14 Griefp. 249
15 Growthp. 270
16 Achievementp. 302
Epilogue: Davidp. 316
Acknowledgementsp. 319
Indexp. 323