Guest Speaker: Elephant Behavior Scientist Caitlin O'Connell presented by The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Caitlin O'Connell

Zeitgeist is pleased to be hosting The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee as it kicks off its 20th Anniversary Celebration by welcoming one of the world’s preeminent scientists on African elephants’ communication and social dynamics, Dr Caitlin O'Connell. The event is free and open to the public. O'Connell will be doing a reading, followed by a book signing.

Parnassus Books will offer copies of Elephant Don for purchase, and donate ten percent of the book price to benefit The Elephant Sanctuary. 

Smithsonian called Dr. Caitlin O’Connell “the elephant whisperer.” After decades of research in Namibia’s Etosha National Park, she’s one of the world’s only scientists who can decipher the language of elephants, theircommunications within their social circles. 

O’Connell is a faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine, author of the acclaimed science memoir The Elephant’s Secret Sense, and the subject of the award-winning Smithsonian documentary Elephant King. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, National Geographic, and Discover, among many others.

In the new nonfiction book Elephant Don: The Politics of a Pachyderm Posse, O’Connell looks inside the social world of African male elephants as she tracks “Greg” and his entourage of fellow bull elephants in order to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, the book vividly captures a huge repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. The narrative also tells the story of Dr. O’Connell – the trials and adventure of field research in environs more hospitable to lions and snakes than scientists.

“[Elephant Don] comes at a critical time, when the slaughter of these intelligent and long-lived creatures is at an all-time high. The more people learn about them, the more they are likely to help efforts to save them.”
Jane Goodall, founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

Dr. O'Connell will also speak on the process of converting true life experiences into fiction in order to broaden the public conversation around elephant conservation, as the battle to save Africa's elephants serves as the backdrop to her debut thriller, Ivory Ghosts - dubbed "a win for any animal lover or reader with a conservationist's heart" by Jodi Picoult, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Leaving Time.

when: June 12, 6:30pm, at Zeitgeist Gallery - 516 Hagan St, #100 Nashville, TN 37203