A Baby Elephant In The Wild
My introduction to elephants was in the very artificial
environment of the Ringling Brothers Circus. The wrinkly grey
behomoths would lumber around the ring and do tricks when cued by
their human handlers. I had no idea then how truly wrong forcing them
into this human mandated slavery was. If there had been anything like
Caitlin O'Connell's A Baby Elephant In The Wild around back in the day
I would have been protesting rather than applauding.
O'Connell's picture book with its intimate pictures takes
readers to Namibia for an up close look at the early life of Liza who
was born weighing 250 pounds after her mother's two year pregnancy.
The exigencies of food gathering mean that within her first week she
must be walking ten to twenty miles a day with her close knit family.
She learns from her extended family what foods she should eat when she
is weaned, how to take mud baths to protect against sunburn and
parasites and other important pachyderm survival skills. Did you know
40,000 muscles are involved in the simple act of drinking water
through the trunk?
The extended family is necessary in the life of Liza and her
mother. Alone they could be taken down by a pride of lions. Adults
are very fierce about protecting their young. Babies within the clan
enjoy the companionship of age mates. In nature elephants live almost
as long as people, spending a life time in the same clan.
So can we say it's not such a good idea to seperate individual
elephants who are capable of grief from their families in order to
enslave them in an existence style that goes against every instinct in
A Baby Elephant In The Wild is a good way for parents and
teachers to introduce children to these fascinating creatures while
learning more themselves like I did. :)
On a personal note, just two more days until I participate in
Bearfest. It's a twelve hour dance marathon to raise money for
medical care for children. It's my second year. This time by rocking
around the clock I'll be bringing in $107 worth of sponsorships.
A great big shout out goes out to all those who will rock around the
clock with me and the people who work so hard to make the event happen
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod