by Sharon Pincott (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-4314-2415-3
This is the third book from Australian conservationist Sharon Pincott, chronicling 13 years of her experiences with the Zimbabwean Presidential Herd of elephants.
In 2001 Pincott takes the brave decision to leave her comfortable life in Australia to work with elephants in troubled Zimbabwe. Completely self-funded and untrained, she arrives in Zimbabwe wanting to spend time with this herd that was granted protection under a decree from Robert Mugabe himself.
Her days are spent observing various family herds, recording details and forging bonds with the matriarchs. During Pincott’s time there land grabs drastically increase around Hwange National Park and Estate, where the herd roams. She is often threatened as she strongly opposes the sport hunting and poaching in those claimed areas. The book is full of horrific stories of snaring and poisoning juxtaposed with Pincott’s accounts of her deeply intimate bond with the elephant families.
This book showcases the desperate plight of wild animals in Zimbabwe as the country spirals into chaos with each passing year post-independence. It is a genuinely personal account of the hardships and triumphs of a courageous and often hilarious lady. I was riveted.