Elephants are among the most beloved of all creatures. Their behavior can seem almost human, from their complex social interactions to their need to mourn their dead. They are also among the most persecuted of animals, subjected to untold cruelty at the hands of humans through the ages. In this stunningly illustrated book, Errol Fuller provides a rich and moving portrait of elephants, exploring their natural history, the legends that have grown up around them, their unique place in art and literature, and their urgent need for protection today.
Fuller traces the evolution of these majestic animals from prehistoric mammoths and mastodons to today's African and Asian elephants, and looks at their behavior, herd dynamics, and social life. He examines the role of elephants in cultures around the world, from folklore and fine art to the exploitation of elephants as war machines and circus animals. Fuller also discusses the importance of conservation, warning that continued poaching and habitat degradation could send these iconic animals the way of the dodo.
Featuring many evocative photos never before published, Elephant is a fittingly exquisite tribute to these breathtaking creatures.
Errol Fuller is an acclaimed writer and painter and a world authority on animal extinction and the curiosities of natural history. His many books include the award-winning Extinct Birds as well as Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record, Dodo: From Extinction to Icon, The Great Auk, and Drawn from Paradise (with David Attenborough).
"In this fascinating, informative, and beautifully illustrated book, Errol Fuller traces the cultural and historic significance of elephants while also presenting them in their evolutionary context. A thoroughly enjoyable read."
– Lucy Bates, University of Sussex
"Elephant is a remarkable work, replete with deeply moving and highly informative images and text. In an increasingly human-dominated world, these intelligent, sentient, social, and beleaguered giants need all the support they can get, and this unique, groundbreaking book is just what is needed to help them along."
– Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, coauthor of The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age
"A gorgeous book. Readers will want to bask in these glorious photos of elephants."
– Lynette A. Hart, University of California, Davis
"Fuller's beautiful and engaging book is a great resource about both African and Asian elephants all in one volume, informed by striking images illustrating anatomy, behavior, and evolution as well as the elephant's long and complicated relationship with humans."
– Caitlin O'Connell, author of The Elephant's Secret Sense
"Here we have a wealth of elephant information together with a spectacular album of photographs. In the work of many artists both ancient and current, we meet the several worlds of elephants: peaceful, playful, tragic, imagined, and real. Put this book down if you can."
– Katy Payne, author of Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants
"Errol Fuller's Elephant is a captivating and unique record of a beloved animal that has been abused for centuries and is now in crisis. With alluring images and polished prose, Fuller delves into the intriguing past of our largest land mammal, their present-day lives, and the battles that rage on in an effort to save them from cruelty and potential extinction."
– Sharon Pincott, author of Elephant Dawn: The Inspirational Story of Thirteen Years Living with Elephants in the African Wilderness