Dec 27, 2018

The Last Rhinos

My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures
by Lawrence Anthony
with Graham Spence

This man saw that something needed to be done in attempt to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction in the Congo, so he went there, and did something about it. It was not quite the read I expected, but riveting nonetheless. He basically plunged into a war zone in an attempt to find a remaining handful of rhinos and remove them to a safe location. This goal was far more complicated than can be imagined. Logistics, politics, lack of infrastructure, dangerously armed poachers, safety issues- it was bogged down at every step. Felt like I was reading a war story half the time, that's how volatile the area was. Much to the author's surprise, he found himself acutely involved in attempts at peace talks between two brutally warring factions- sidetracked from the efforts to save the rhinos- but he stepped up to the occasion and did his best to convey information and goodwill. When things weren't progressing on the rhino project, he would return home for a breather to his wildlife reserve at Thula Thula. It was very satisfying to read more about the elephants Lawrence had struggled to settle into his reserve (there's actually more on personal encounters with them in this book than rhinos) but disheartening the immense difficulties he faced in trying to work on behalf of the rhinos. Of that subspecies, only two are still alive in the world today. Not much hope. In spite of the serious subject matter, this book did make me laugh several times- it's nice the author kept his humor, and there's plenty of hair-raising adventures in here as well.

Borrowed from the public library.

Rating: 3/5          327 pages, 2012

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