Elephants are as unique as people. They can be clever and curious or headstrong and impulsive, shy or sociable. Learn to know them as individuals as well as a species in this evocative account of years spent studying elephant behaviour in the wild.
Watching a family out for a swim on a hot day, Dr Hannah Mumby notes grandmothers, mothers, sisters and children exchanging noisy greetings, a consistent stream of close-range vocalisations, intermittent touching, co-operative herding of babies and frequent stopping for snacks. A close and interconnected family. But in this family, the adults weigh several tons each and the babies wave trunks playfully at one another. This is a herd of elephants.
That elephants are intelligent, sentient beings is common knowledge, but so much about their day-to-day lives and abilities remains unknown. How do they communicate with one another over seemingly impossible distances? How do males spend their lives once they have left their mothers' herds? And how much do they really remember?
In this lyrically written and deeply personal account of several years of field research, Mumby reverently describes her own elephant encounters, alongside an exploration of the most up-to-date discoveries about the lives of these gentle giants. Learn how elephants live, travel, have sex, raise children and relate to one another, and reflect on how they think and feel. Understanding elephants as individuals closes the gap between human and animal and has powerful applications in the critical field of elephant conservation.
"Combining lyrical writing about trumpeting at sunset with a pop science sensibility, Elephants: Birth, Death & Family in the Lives of the Giants is both smart and elegant. Walking with these elephants, and with Hannah, will appeal to the Planet Earth viewer and the Robert Macfarlane reader in equal measure."
– Dan Jones, Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets and The Templars.