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Travels on My Elephant

With the help of a Maratha nobleman, Mark Shand buys an elephant named Tara and rides her over six hundred miles across India to the Sonepur Mela, the world's oldest elephant market. From Bhim, a drink-racked mahout, Shand learned to ride and care for her. From his friend Aditya Patankar he learned Indian ways. And with Tara, his new companion, he fell in love. "Travels on my Elephant" is the story of their epic journey across India, from packed highways to dusty back roads where communities were unchanged for millennia. It is also a memorable, touching account of Tara's transformation from scrawny beggar elephant to star attraction, and of the romance that developed between her and her owner Mark Shand. For what began as an adventurous whim has developed, decades later, into a life of campaigning to provide vital migratory corridors for these magnificent creatures whose habitat is under constant assault from man.

Mark Shand is a travel writer with a playboy past which has been exchanged for the life of a fund-raising conservationist. His travel books include River Dog: A journey down the Brahmaputra, Queen of the Elephants, Skullduggery and Travels on my Elephant for which he received the Travel Writer of the Year award. The latter journey directed led to his foundation of Elephant Family - a charity specifically established to protect the environment of the Asian elephant, tiger and orang-utan, and is currently engaged in the creation and acquisition of half kilometre wide jungle corridors that connect together the various different forest reserves.

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