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A MUST READ
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.