Story follows real baby elephant and her family in Central African rainforest

Students from PS 107 publish book to bring awareness to forest elephants and threats to their survival


NEW YORK (June 10, 2015)—A group of Brooklyn students are using their pens and imaginations to help ensure a future for African elephants with help from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the 96 Elephants campaign.

With help from WCS scientist and elephant expert Andrea Turkalo, a group of 5th graders from Brooklyn’s Public School 107 John W. Kimball Learning Center have written and published a book titled “One Special Elephant: The Story of Penelope Petunia,” inspired by a real baby elephant living in the rainforests of Central Africa.

“The student authors succeed in revealing the hidden lives of forest elephants through the story of a single animal,” said John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President, 96 Elephants Director, and author of the book’s forward. “The book also helps bring attention to the plight of the African elephant, a species that is being decimated at the rate of 96 animals per day. This is an amazing accomplishment for a group of any age.”

The book—inspired by the 96 Elephants campaign and self-published through—follows the life of a baby forest elephant, her social attachments to other elephants, and the plight of elephants across Africa as a result of poaching, habitat destruction and other threats.

The student authors worked with the Beast Relief committee at PS 107 and Ms. Turkalo, who provided the group with information on Penelope and her extended family gathered from decades of observations made at the Dzanga Bai forest clearing in the Central African Republic’s Dzanga-Ndoki National Park. Last year the student group wrote and published a book about a rhino named Andatu.

All of the proceeds from sales of “One Special Elephant” will be donated to WCS and will help support Ms Turkalo’s research in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.

96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.