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Birth, Death and Family in the Lives of the Giants

Hannah Mumby



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William Collins
02 April 2020
Elephants are as unique as people. They can be clever and curious or headstrong and impulsive, shy or sociable. Learn to know them as individuals as well as a species in this evocative account of years spent studying elephant behaviour in the wild.

Watching a family out for a swim on a hot day, Dr Hannah Mumby notes grandmothers, mothers, sisters and children exchanging noisy greetings, a consistent stream of close-range vocalisations, intermittent touching, co-operative herding of babies and frequent stopping for snacks. A close and interconnected family. But in this family, the adults weigh several tons each and the babies wave trunks playfully at one another. This is a herd of elephants.

That elephants are intelligent, sentient beings is common knowledge, but so much about their day-to-day lives and abilities remains unknown. How do they communicate with one another over seemingly impossible distances? How do males spend their lives once they have left their mothers' herds? And how much do they really remember?

In this lyrically written and deeply personal account of several years of field research, Mumby reverently describes her own elephant encounters, alongside an exploration of the most up-to-date discoveries about the lives of these gentle giants. Learn how elephants live, travel, have sex, raise children and relate to one another, and reflect on how they think and feel. Understanding elephants as individuals closes the gap between human and animal and has powerful applications in the critical field of elephant conservation.
By:   Hannah Mumby
Imprint:   William Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   410g
ISBN:   9780008331689
ISBN 10:   0008331685
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   02 April 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Dr Hannah Mumby is a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist with a passion for applying ideas from her work to conservation. Hannah is currently a Fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge and at the College for Life Sciences at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin. She leads the Bull Elephant Network Project and conducts fieldwork with the NGO Elephants Alive in South Africa and Mozambique. She is also actively involved with conservation efforts and assists with collaring operations, translocating elephants and outreach work with local communities. Hannah recently completed a Fulbright Scholarship at Colorado State University, where she reconnected with Samburu, Kenya, the site of her first interactions with wild elephants. Hannah talks about elephants on TV and on the radio, as well as in schools and universities. She lives between Cambridge, Berlin and South Africa, which means she spends too much time on aeroplanes.

Reviews for Elephants: Birth, Death and Family in the Lives of the Giants

'Combining lyrical writing about trumpeting at sunset with a pop science sensibility, The Elephant in the Mirror is both smart and elegant. Walking with these elephants, and with Hannah, will appeal to the Planet Earth viewer and the Robert Macfarlane reader in equal measure.' Dan Jones, Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets and The Templars. 'Elephants is an informative and entertaining memoir, in which scientist Hannah Mumby details her experience researching elephants in Africa and Asia. She works alongside conservation giants like Iain Douglas-Hamilton while unearthing connections between elephant and human life histories - often in the midst of alarming spikes in poaching. With descriptive prose, Mumby transports readers to Kenya, Myanmar and South Africa, where she and her colleagues discover surprising facets of elephant behaviour and intelligence.' BBC Wildlife magazine

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