Elephas maximus: a portrait of the Indian elephant.
Orlando: Harcourt, 2004.
Octavo, dustwrapper, 320 pp. black and white photographs.
WAS $38. Revered in Indian religion and culture, yet coveted by poachers for its ivory tusks, the Asian elephant has lived, worked, and even fought side by side with humans for 4,000 years. Stephen Alter first encountered Elephas maximus when he was a child, and traveled every corner of India to create this unabashed tribute. He finds conservationists fighting to protect the elephants' habitat, mahouts who are as close to their elephants as they are to their own families, and even ivory poachers, whose ongoing assault on the animals may be contributing to the evolution of tuskless males.