Sometime in the mid-1990s, Amirtharaj Christy Williams, an Asian elephant specialist, went to Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand as a greenhorn research fellow. His task was to radio-collar and track several elephants in the Siwalik hills. As he went about his work, he formed close associations with several of these amazing pachyderms: Mallika, the matriarch who held her herd together; Kiruba, a new mother; Shahrukh, the young shy male; and Tipu, the Sultan of the Siwaliks, the tallest elephant ever recorded in the national park and the gentlest of giants. In this memoir, Christy recalls the heady years of hope and desperation as his team struggled against encroachment and human-animal conflict to create space for the elephant herds. Between deaths and new births, from cropraiding elephants to kitchen-raiding ones, there emerges a story of the largeheartedness of elephants, their quirks, their lives and their struggles. Warm, funny, immensely readable, and often bringing to mind great nature writers such as Gerald Durrell, this passionate personal account will inspire readers of all ages to appreciate and understand wildlife and its immense beauty.
About the Author
Amirtharaj Christy Williams is a wildlife biologist who started his academic career working for a Ph.D. on elephants in the Rajaji-Corbett landscape in Uttarakhand. Since then he has been working for over two decades to save Asian elephants across several range countries from India in the west to Malaysian Borneo in the east. His work has ranged from raising money to put boots on the ground to protect elephants to lobbying political leadership for policy changes that are elephant friendly. He is currently based in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM region where he is involved in setting up a 2 million ha protected area. He has been a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation in general and is also an award-winning photographer. He is married to a wildlife biologist and they have two sons.