When Elephants Weep
No-one who has lived with animals would deny their capacity to feel. But scientists continue to do just that.
For over 100 years a chasm has separated animal lovers-who know that their dog, cat, horse, or parrot have complex emotional lives - and scientists, to whom attributing any emotions to animals has been equivalent to heresy. And while a groundswell among a new generation of scientists has begun chipping away at this traditional taboo, and animal lovers eagerly consume whatever they can find about the subject, no one book has yet gathered all the available information into an engaging and authoritative portrait of animals emotional lives. Not, that is, until now.
With chapters on love, joy, anger, fear, shame, compassion, and loneliness, all framed by a provocative reevaluation of how we treat animals, When Elephants Weep is the first book since Darwin's time to explore the full range of emotions throughout the animal kingdom, and it features a cast of hundreds. Meet Siri, the Indian elephant, whose impressive sketches have been praised by artists Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Meet Koko, a bashful gorilla proficient ins sign language who loves to play house with dolls-but only when no one is looking - and Michael, another signing gorilla, who cannot be disturbed whenever Pavarotti sings on television. Then there's Moja, the joyful mongoose who waltzes with squirrels; Toto, the steadfast chimpanzee who literally nursed his malaria-stricken human observer back to health; and Alex, an African gray parrot with an astonishing vocabulary, who, when left at the veterinarian's office, shrieked, "Come here! I love you. I'm sorry. I want to go back."
By contrast, you'll also meet scores of biologists, ethnologists, and animal behaviorists whose anecdote-rich field notes and studies paint compelling portraits of their subject's rich emotional lives, yet whose conclusions frequently appear as fancy footwork around the obvious. When Elephants Weep also draws upon the illuminating experiences of animal trainers - from Sea World and the Ringling Bros. circus to Guide Dogs for the Blind - and is sprinkled with insights from pet owners, literature, myth, and fable to create a riveting and revolutionary portrayal of animal's lives that will permanently change and enrich the way you look at animals.