This concise, richly illustrated biography of the African elephant--from ancient Egypt to the most recent discoveries about elephant society and communication--is also a passionate plea to preserve the species. . The relationship between elephant and man has been dominated by brutality and persecution. Centuries of exportation, unabated hunting for ivory, and shrinking habitat have left only five countries in Africa with sizeable elephant herds. Corrupt governments and lawless poachers are currently flouting what little protection the elephant has. What will be the African elephant's destiny? Will it soon be relegated to zoos and nature preserves? Martin Meredith lays out the history of this majestic animal from the Egyptian pharaohs' first ivory expeditions 2500 years ago to today, and explores the elephant's role in literature and popular culture. He shares recent extraordinary discoveries about the elephant's ability to communicate, its sophisticated family and community structure, and the ways--rare in the animal world--in which elephants show compassion and loyalty to each other.
Meredith also illuminates how the legacy of colonialism in Africa--and unrelenting poverty, disease, and civil war--affects the elephant's fate. Can Africa find a way to preserve its most enduring symbol of freedom? Readers of national bestsellers including Silent Thunder, Elephant Memories , and When Elephants Weep will want to read this urgent, illuminating book.show more