An Elephant in my Kitchen – Review
PoachingFacts rating: 5 of 5 stars
After the passing of her husband Lawrence Anthony, Francoise Malby-Anthony and co-author Katja Willemsen take up the pen in An Elephant in my Kitchen to bring wildlife lovers another incredible chapter in the ongoing wildlife conservation saga at South Africa’s renowned Thula Thula (and Thula Thula Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre).
With remarkably raw and honest conviction, Malby-Anthony recounts a number of personal stories in this latest chapter of her life. Some stories will be warmly familiar to readers of The Elephant Whisperer and remind us of the wonderful elephants who still live under her watchful care. She expands on these stories from her own point of view and also tells of new and on-going events that have happened in the intervening years including stories about the wild animals who have been rescued.
Many stories are fun and lighthearted. Others touch on the deeply moving, soulful themes of perseverance through all the trials that a person in a position of responsibility can endure. As with many challenges in life, sweet success is tempered by the anguish of loss and Malby-Anthony reflects with raw honesty on each of these events. Co-author Katja Willemsen’s stewardship gently coaxes these memories into our minds, to cherish and reflect on for our own sake, and to speak of the hardship that Thula Thula has endured and the known and unpredictable hardships that they will face courageously as they merge wildlife safaris and wildlife conservation to create a new, sustainable enterprise. Through it all is the story of resilience as Malby-Anthony and all her supporters work to keep the many people and wild animals of Thula Thula safe from harm and reduce human-wildlife conflict — an unceasing and herculean task.
Don’t worry if you haven’t read The Elephant Whisperer by her late husband Lawrence Anthony. Each book can stand alone as a testament to the character of the Anthonys and the warmth and kindness of everyone at Thula Thula. There is no perfect entry-point into real-life wildlife conservation, but An Elephant in my Kitchen is as good a starting point as any and is sure to leave readers feeling deeply connected to the South African bush and inspired to do more to protect the world’s wildlife.
Readers are sure to enjoy their return to the almost magical world of Thula Thula. We are sure that they, like us, will also be looking forward to future real-life adventures from the picturesque slice of heaven home to the reborn Thula Thula Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
Readers who enjoy heartfelt stories of wildlife conservation will also be interested in Kobie Krüger‘s The Wilderness Family where a warm and vibrant reality of the South African lowveld is brought to life as experienced by her game warden husband and their family living inside the world-famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. Francoise Malby-Anthony‘s late husband Lawrence Anthony has also written about his other conservation adventures in Africa and the Middle East, among them Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo and The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures, which are stellar memoirs that are both fascinating and insightful.
For in-depth and incredible stories of wildlife behavior and conservation we strongly recommend Gareth Patterson‘s several books on lion conservation, rehabilitation, and rewilding including: To Walk with Lions, Last of the Free, and My Lion’s Heart: A Life for the Lions of Africa. Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s masterfully written memoir Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story also makes excellent reading and recounts a significant portion of her life and work dedicated to conserving and rehabilitating elephants in Kenya. Essential reading for elephant lovers and anyone with a hunger for African adventure.