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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Last Rhinos
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2012
I picked up The Elephant Whisperer on a whim before heading off on safari.. and promptly spent a whole day after a game drive bursting into tears by the lodge pool. The minute I finished I downloaded The Last Rhinos and kinda sobbed through most of that too - the situation with poaching is desperately sad and yet so inspiring that Lawrence Anthony never stopped trying to find some new solution to make a difference. And what an effort he makes in this - tireless running around between reluctant governments and conservation organisations and, truly bizarrely, one of the world's most notorious 'warlords', Joseph Kony. And all on the faint hope that a few White Northern Rhinos still survived in remote DRC, and there was a possibility of finding them before the poachers did.

The incredible thing was that Lawrence was uniquely placed to instigate projects like these (due to contacts and specialist knowledge), and the story starts off as unlikely and gets more and more incredible as the Lord's Resistance Army gets involved. Although the events in this book took place a few years ago (2006 I believe), they seem oddly very relevant with the recent publicity surrounding Kony and, of course, the news that Lawrence himself passed away just a couple of months ago in March. Reading that in the epilogue hit me like a ton of bricks, I had no idea at all and it was a desperately sad finale after reading everything he had been through. This is such an inspiring and moving book - definitely read The Elephant Whisperer first but kudos to Graham Spence for crafting the true story into such readable and moving stuff.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2012
I got this for my kindle as soon as I finished The Elephant Whisperer, his previous book, and was immediately hooked again.

It's an amazing series of books about an incredible man and while this does talk about the last rhinos it also talks about elephants (quite a lot) and the Lords Resistance Army. I was Very please to read about the elephants but think its a bit misleading from the title of he book. That's the only negative comment I will make.

What this makes you want to do is go out to Thula Thula today and see it up and close, it also makes you aware of the issues in modern conservation. It also made me much more educated about the Lords Resistance Army in general and after reading the book I have done quite a lot of research on them. Lawrence tells of his experience with the LRA openly and it is an incredible insight. Furthermore if one reads articles and opinions from people living in hat region they more or less say that hunting Kony is not the way forward.

Anyway, I recommend reading The Elephant Whisperer first and then this. Lastly, RIP Mr Anthony - your words and actions have profoundly moved me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2013
This is another very compelling story by Lawrence Anthony (with Graham Spence). His first book, 'The Elephant Whisperer' was an amazing account of how he acquired Thula Thula his private reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal and helped a herd of rogue elephants recover from their traumas. The Elephant Whisperer: Learning About Life, Loyalty and Freedom From a Remarkable Herd of Elephants

African rhinos are the victims of mass murder by ever more sophisticated and well financed poachers who gain untold wealth from the new rich in east Asia fuelled by the superstitious nonsense they espouse about the magical effect of rhino horn.

In 'The Last Rhinos' Lawrence Anthony has periods of recuperation in the restorative environment of Thula Thula but the main storyline of the book is worked out in North East Congo and Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan. That's because the last rhinos of the story are the final remnant of the northern white rhino species which are isolated and waiting a poacher's bullet in a nominal reserve in Northern Congo. That reserve happens to be home to other 'wildlife' in the form of the military command and foot soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army who have been engaged in a savage war with the Ugandan army for 20 years or more.

In his effort to rescue the last remaining rhinos, Lawrence Anthony is drawn into the role of 'Godfather of Peace' for the LRA in the efforts to bring about a peace settlement between them and the Ugandan government. It is a remarkable account of how he became a trusted intermediary between the LRA and the outside world and is tasked by them to get the message across that they really want peace and to return home in peace to Uganda. First he meets their political leaders forming the delegation attending peace talks in Juba. He gains their confidence and support for protection of the rhinos in the region they occupy. That leads to a difficult and dangerous journey to meet with the military leaders in the jungle of northern Congo.

It seems incredible that any conservationist should find himself in this role, meeting alone with a group remowned for their barbaric warmongering. It would be wrong to say that he paints a sympathetic picture of the people he meets but he does believe that they are war weary and want it to end, though on the basis of African justice.

In the end the forces of militarism on both sides win out over the attempt at peace. You will find out what happens to the isolated population of rhinos when you read the book. It ends with a happy picture of two orphaned baby rhinos introduced into Thula Thula and some little hope for tomorrow.

Sadly, before this book was published, Lawrence Anthony died in March 2012 following a heart attack. His voice for conservation of the rhino and elephant is now silent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2012
i had the great fortune to go to thula thula in december. i urge anyone who can to go it brings to life these books. lawrence an immensely pasionate and brave man will be sorely missed . this book changes your perception of conservation and makes you realise how difficult it is and how dedicated anyone who is involved is. a brilliant book which i could not put down . praise for graham spence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2013
I simply couldn't put this book down. I have read Lawrence Anthony's previous books and knew this would be exciting - I just never knew how much! This brave man did what no other person would do, go into the jungle in DRC to talk and negotiate with some of the most wanted men on the planet to try and save a species. I can't think of a more selfless act.

RIP Lawrence Anthony - he is an inspiration to many.
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on 5 August 2012
The Last Rhinos - Lawrence Anthony & Graham Spence

I had to wait till my birthday before receiving this book as a gift from my very special friend and if I'd known what a powerful, awesome book I would be getting, I may have moved my birth date up a few months so that I could have received it earlier!

After reading Babylon's Ark and Lawrence's singlehanded determination to rescue the animals abandoned in horrific conditions thanks to the Iraq war, then his remarkable rescue of Nana and her herd of very traumatised elephants (The Elephant Whisperer) I'm not sure what I was expecting when I first started this book - was he just going to get some rhinos from somewhere local in South Africa? No! Lawrence has heard through two friends who are journalists that there may be still be some northern white rhinos left in Garamba Game Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - unfortunately, this area is also where the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) are situated.

After futile efforts to get the Democratic Republic of the Congo on his side to help him rescue these rhinos, Lawrence decides to go where normal men fear to tread; he contacts the LRA and goes off to meet them.

One quote sums up the experience: "This was David Livingstone territory. It was as feral a place as you'll find anywhere on the planet. More Europeans or Americans had probably climbed Everest than had been to a place like this"

To tell more would spoil the experience of reading this astonishing book.

When Lawrence Anthony died we not only lost a hugely dedicated conservationist, we lost a man who through his work, managed to motivate people to help prevent the animals walking the planet with us (particularly rhinos & elephants) from being totally wiped off the planet. Thanks to his efforts to try to save these last few rhino, Lawrence reached out to an army (LRA) who are so reviled for all the damage they have done and yet, because of his dedication and statesmanship managed to persuade them to help him rescue these rhinos.

One last quote from the book on how the elephants reacted to his death:
"But yet, but yet . . . the night he died, they were right there outside his house. And they came every evening for the next week as the sun set, until his ashes were scattered on the land he loved. Then they left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
One of the best written books on the Conservation struggle I have read. It provides a very good insight to the struggle we face in trying to protect wildlife in Africa for future generations. The apathy and lack of political vision motivated by greed and power are potentially creating a barren wildlife wasteland such as now exists in many other countries. Lawrence Anthony Graham Spence collaborate very well together and make for a compelling read. A book all politicians and adolescent school goers should read. Sean Kelly
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on 28 September 2013
I really do not know what to say about Lawrence's book. I feel like I know the man, I wish I did. His three amazing stories show how wonderful and how terrible humans are. Lawrence is a guy that the World needs more of and hopefully his legacy and his mission now continues to go from strength to strength. This book is an unbelievable story of courage, determination and suffering. His other two books - Babylon's Ark and The Elephant Whisperer are equally as beautiful. I don't really know what to say. The man was, is, a legend. If I had more money I would invest it in anti poaching measures but I don't, so I can't. All I can do is raise awareness and make people become interested and make people read these books. Somone somewhere needs to stop the likes of China and Vietnam poaching. They have already made the Northern White Rhino extinct in the wild which is truely sad and shocking. My hope lies with Prince William and the charity 'Tusk' who have Beckham and the Chinese superstar basketball player Yao Ming as ambassadors. Yao Ming has an incredibly important role to spread the word around his country that ivory from elephants and rhino have absolutely NO magical healing powers. I only hope that he realises the sclae of his task and the impact he could have in saving the animals that we take for granted.
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on 25 May 2013
"The Last Rhinos" written by Laurence Anthony,a man with a great love and passion for all wild life is sending a message to all peoples that if we don,t stop the illegal trade of ivory and Rhino horn then these magnificent beasts will be extinct in a very short time and other species will follow.
"The Last Rhinos" is written with a great deal of empathy and understanding of the animals in the park, as shown in the relationship between the author Laurence Anthony and "Nana" the elephant, brought into the park when orphaned by poachers who killed her mother for her ivory tusks. Nana was then fostered by the team at Thula Thula Park until she was able to be returned to the wild. Nana showed that she had not forgotten him by coming to say "Hello" whenever she caught his scent.
Although this is a serious subject and there are many dangerous incidents, it is told with humour.
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on 25 March 2014
Another story about the man they called the Elephant Whisperer. In it he describes the trials and tribulations of dealing with the political manipulators running some of the central African republics whilst he attempts to negotiate a way to save the northern Congo Rhino from extinction. Getting nowhere, Anthony succeeds in talking the Lord's Resistance Army, who take refuge in the Congo/Ugandan nature reserve, into respecting his concern for the rhino, despite their twenty year history of waging barbaric civil war. Unfortunately the politicians have their way in the end, at the expense of the rhino. Perhaps the best of the book is in the descriptions of Anthony in his reserve in South Africa interacting with wildlife, in particular his beloved elephants where the mutual trust he inspires is awesome. Sadly he is no longer with us.
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