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Eric Scigliano

Seeing the Elephant

Elephants are intelligent and powerful animals, and it's not surprising that humans have often formed bonds with these creatures. In Seeing the Elephant: The Ties That Bind Elephants and Humans Eric Scigliano looks at examples of our relationship with elephants through the ages.

The book starts with the prehistory of elephants, asking where mammoths had contact with early humans and whether it be possible to recreate one today. Scigliano goes on to look at how elephants have become sacred in various cultures, with a chapter on Ganesha the elephant headed god. He also describes the uses we have made of elephants. They are certainly useful for moving heavy loads, but have also been conscripted into fighting, where they can be a deciding force - who hasn't heard about Hannibal's attack on Rome? For many of though, thinking about elephants will conjure up a picture of the Big Top of the circus. In the later parts of the book Scigliano discusses our treatment of elephants, explaining how their use as an attraction in zoos and circuses often requires a rather cruel 'breaking in'. One of the things I liked about the book is that he does explain the points of view both of those who want to continue the links between elephants and humans, and those who think that we should let them live their own lives. If you're want to find out about elephants and how we treat them then you'll find plenty to interest you in this book

Note This book has also been issued with the title Love, War and Circuses: The Age Old Relationship Between Elephants and Humans info
Hardcover 368 pages  
ISBN: 0747569258
Salesrank: 7051898
Published: 2003 Bloomsbury Pub Ltd
Amazon price $15.95
Marketplace:New from $2.72:Used from $1.05
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ISBN: 0747569258
Salesrank: 1462985
Weight:1.23 lbs
Published: 1609 Bloomsbury Publishing
Amazon price CDN$ 54.95
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 53.87:Used from CDN$ 5.14
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Product Description
For millennia, people all over the world have revered, adored and exploited elephants. In Thailand, a pregnant woman ducks under an elephant's belly in hopes of having an easy delivery; a tycoon builds an elephant-shaped skyscraper; and pirate loggers feed amphetamines to their elephants to make them haul backbreaking loads. In India, milling worshippers dance with gilded tuskers at ecstatic temple festivals. From the steppes of Siberia to America's prairies, scientists have proposed restoring lost ecosystems by reintroducing the elephants and mammoths that once ruled them. And generation after generation of readers have delighted in Babar, Horton and Dumbo. In a kaleidoscopic account rich in historic lore, surprising science and exotic adventure, Eric Scigliano traces an age-old, extraordinary relationship between species and shows how it still haunts and inspires us today. He explains how elephants may have been 'nursemaids' to human evolution and how they shaped history, art, religion, and popular culture as no other animals have. He joins a gruelling chase after crop-raiding rogues in Sri Lanka and probes the bitter battle over the roles of elephants in zoos and circuses, revealing the enduring ecological importance and mythic fascination of these endangered giants.