SACRED ELEPHANT By Heathcote Williams Jonathan Cape Publishing
The first half of this book is a magnificent poem by Heathcote Williams which perfectly portrays the "soul of Elephant" The second half a compilation of little known facts about the most majestic of animals. The book is illustrated by incredibly moving photographs of elephants. Sacred Elephant is a powerful alchemy of verse, picture and prose using fact and feeling to demolish the myths that keep us complacent about the elephant's fate. This is one of my most cherished books, one that has remained on my desk for years. Also by Heathcote Williams - "Whale Nation" and "Falling for a Dolphin."
To learn more about Asian Elephants and the kind of habitat into which Barbara the Elephant was born read
Aliya - Stories of the Elephants of Sri Lanka
Teresa Cannon and Peter Davis, with a forward by Dr. Arthur C. Clarke
From the forward by Dr Arthur C Clarke
In 1956 I settled in Sri Lanka. It is the perfect place from which to view the vastness of the universe and explore the depths of the ocean. It is also an idyllic location to marvel at some of the most remarkable creatures that walk the earth - the elephant.
In ancient mythology, elephants held up the universe. To this day they continue to play a crucial role in the culture and ceremonies of this island nation. Yet the destiny of these majestic creatures is threatened today. Experts predict that the Sri Lankan elephant, a unique sub-species of the Asian elephant, may soon disappear in the wild, unless major conservation measures are undertaken.
In view of this it is timely that a well researched book on the Sri Lankan elephant has been compiled by Peter Davis and Teresa Cannon. I first met the authors after they had completed their initial field trip, and we talked with enthusiasm about the exceptional attributes of elephants. I knew that I had met two obsessed people who had embarked on a journey to research, photograph and write about the creatures that have touched them so deeply. I cautioned them about the long road ahead and am delighted that they have made the distance.
The authors have created an interesting and valuable documentation of Sri Lankan elephants. It combines aspects of elephant history, mythology and
behavior with many touching anecdotes. I am particularly happy to note that the book features the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala - an enchanting place.
This beautifully illustrated book fills an important gap not only in the literature on Sri Lanka but also n the accessible writing on the Asian elephant. Books cannot save elephants or other animals. But they can - and do - enhance popular awareness about conservation issues and needs. I am happy to commend Aliya - Stories of the Elephants of Sri Lanka to anyone who cares about these gentle giants that tread the earth.
A word from the authors:
We spent five years researching, writing about and photographing the elephants of Sri Lanka. We are inspired by the fact that the elephant, the largest of all living land mammals, continues to exist on the tiny island of Sri Lanka. The more we researched the more we
realized how significant the elephant is to the rich and complex culture of the island as well as the delicate ecosystem. We felt compelled to document this and in doing so we have been privileged to spend time with the elephants and the people of Sri Lanka. We called the book ALIYA because Aliya is the Sinhala word for elephant.
***Teresa Cannon and Peter Davis have also written a beautiful Children’s Book called simply Asian Elephants.