At the end of January I got to do something I never imagined I would. I got to be filmed with the elephants at Woburn Safari Park as part of the promotion for my new Megan Rix book about a circus elephant who’s sent to work on a farm during WWI. The book’s called ‘The Runaways’ and not out until May – when I hope to have some copies to win in one of our lovely GHB comps. The runaways in the book are an old circus dog called Harvey and a 2-year-old elephant called Tara who runaway from the circus and set off on a perilous journey to reunite Tara with her mum, Shanti, before its too late.
The baby elephant I got to meet and play with (thanks to Eric Wainwright for taking these amazing photos) was called Tarli and she lives with her mum Damani and two ‘aunties’ Chandrika and Yu Zin at Woburn. Tarli is 5 months and full of fun and cheekiness (just like Tara in my book.) Both Tara and Tarli mean star.
On our filming day Tarli raced at the people holding cameras and captured Hannah from Puffin’s leg with her trunk. I was very pleased little Tarli liked the strawberries I fed her. I had to pop them straight into her mouth as her trunk’s not very nimble yet. We’d gone to the market before we went to Woburn and bought tons of fruit for the elephants – bananas, apples, mangos, pineapples, kiwis, coconuts and of course strawberries. We also bought some oranges although Amy, the keeper, said oranges sometimes came out the other end still whole.
Amy and I talked a lot about the hard questions of elephants in captivity and the very real problem of elephants becoming extinct the week before we did our filming day. But what I wanted to do in this blog today was share the sheer joy of a small elephant full of all the confidence and glee that comes when a young animal’s watched over by 3 doting grown-up elephants and 6 adoring people.
Woburn has an Elephant Appreciation weekend on the 4th and 5th of April. I’ll be there and if you live not too far away it’d be lovely to see you there too 🙂
PS If I don’t see you at Woburn maybe I’ll see you at Red House Book Award ceremony. Thanks Jo for mentioning that there were still tickets available. Just click on the link