A Trunk Full of Tales : Seventy Years with the Indian Elephant
Dhriti K. Lahiri-Choudhury
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
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Most children learn about the facts of life from birds and bees. The author’s wisdom in this crucial area came from hearing about the private lives of elephants, of which his family owned seventeen. D. K. Lahiri Choudhury grew up in Mymensingh district, now in Bangladesh, inhabiting a near mythic feudal world of household elephants, shikar, Indian classical music, and good food. The partition of the country ended this lifestyle, but not his obsession with elephants. Over seventy years, he has trawled the forests of Lower Assam, Barak Valley, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Orissa, as well as Uttaranchal, Mudumalai, Bandipur, and Periyar in quest of the elephant. All this makes A Trunk Full of Tales unique: a wildlife memoir peppered with anecdotes, shot through with humour and irony, and always marked with a deep knowledge of elephants. Lahiri Choudhury’s experience with elephants includes tracking them in undivided Assam, penetrating remote areas in chase of declared man-killing rogues. He has surveyed the status and distribution of elephants, studied man–elephant conflict and the problem of managing elephants in the wild. He has journeyed over thousands of miles of hazardous roads, walked through the north-eastern forests of India, learning to read the language of the jungle. His acquaintance with wild elephants, some of them man-killers, was sometimes from as close as a few feet, and he narrates his attempts to manage straying herds and killer rogues with wry humour. For those who have wondered where Jim Corbett’s descendants are, here is the answer. This book is in the best tradition of writing about animals, combining storytelling and science.

Dhriti K. Lahiri-Choudhury
 is an unlikely elephant expert. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Leeds University. He was Professor and Head, Department of English, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta. In his parallel life as elephant specialist, he is a member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He was a member of the Task Force outlining India’s ‘Project Elephant’ and, later, coordinator for eastern and north-eastern India. D. K. Lahiri Choudhury writes in both English and Bengali. His published work on elephants includes, as editor, The Great Indian Elephant Book; Hati O Banjangaler Katha (Tales of Elephants and Forests); as well as technical manuals, scientific reports, and popular writings.
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