The secret elephants: The rediscovery of the world's most southerly elephants, by Gareth Patterson
Gareth Patterson's ninth book, 'The secret elephants: The rediscovery of the world's most southerly elephants', is a gentle, meandering account of his search for the elusive Knysna elephants, the country's only free-ranging pachyderm.
Foreword by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE
Initially, it was with mixed feelings that I agreed to write this Foreword to Gareth Patterson's moving exposure about the secretive and mysterious existence of the elephant survivors within the beautiful Knysna forest. Aware of the tribulation and suffering of elephants generally at the hands of humans, my first feeling was one of sadness, that perhaps it would have been better had their existence remained a mystery for in that way they would be spared the intrusion of human curiosity that usually leads to harassment in the name of Science. But, upon reflection, I felt that perhaps it was inevitable that their existence become known, and what more sensitive person than my friend Gareth Patterson to bring their existence and plight to the attention of the world, and by so doing appeal to the good in caring humankind to afford them the privacy and shelter they have carved out for themselves over the years. How desperately sad it would have been had the Matriarch of such a highly social species lived all alone in her forested stronghold, with no one to love and protect and with whom to talk, all things we know that elephants do. As it is, Gareth Patterson has documented their secret world with empathy and understanding, as one who regards himself in harmony with it. Few could have done this with more perception than Gareth, and I hope that his moving narrative will ensure that the Knysna elephants are viewed with wonder and awe as a national and international treasure, symbolic of endurance against all odds, as well as symbolic of the precarious nature of their beleaguered species. I have been privileged to come to know elephants well for I have worked intimately with them for fifty out of my three score years and ten, having retrieved and reared their broken orphaned babies and gradually watched them return to where they rightly belong, back amongst their own kind in a protected area that can afford them the space an elephant needs for a quality of life. I have shed tears of sorrow aplenty as well as tears of joy for them and their kind. They have taught me and my colleagues well, and continue to do so on a daily basis as we follow the lives of the seventy-four orphaned elephants we have hand-reared from early infancy, many of whom are now grown and have wild-born young of their own, living unfettered and free amongst Kenya's largest single elephant population. We have healed the physical wounds of the orphans that have come to us, and watched with wonder and awe at the healing of deep-seated psychological scars brought about by the compassion and comfort of their orphaned peers and we have marvelled at their forgiveness. To have been befriended by elephants is a humbling and unique experience filled with wonder, awe and amazement, for every day brings new revelations about these wonderful, very 'human' animals. Their care of one another, and their understanding and compassion are surely an example of the very best of human traits; their gentle nature and forgiveness tempers justifiable resentment and anger against humans who deprived them of their loved elephant family. On numerous occasions we have witnessed first hand their mysterious perception of hidden dangers no human could have detected ahead of time. [...]
This is an ecerpt from the book 'The secret elephants: The rediscovery of the world's most southerly elephants', by Gareth Patterson.
Title: The secret elephants
Subtitle: The rediscovery of the world's most southerly elephants
Author: Gareth Patterson
Publisher: The Penguin Group (SA)
2nd edition. Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9780143528012 / ISBN 978-0-14-352801-2
Softcover, 13 x 19 cm, 293 pages, black & white illustrations, some maps
Patterson, Gareth im Namibiana-Buchangebot
'The secret elephants: The rediscovery of the world's most southerly elephants' is the story of the giants of the Knysna forest that made their way back from the brink of extinction.