Book About Elephants, For Elephants (and rhinos!)


Have you ever met a kid who is COMPLETELY obsessed with something? Well, Dave Johnson was that kid.

Have you ever met a kid who is COMPLETELY obsessed with something? Well, Dave Johnson was that kid. In fact, he loved animals so much- even from his first memory – that when he was about five years old, he pretended to be an ostrich for three whole days. He pecked things and strutted around like an ostrich 24/7 for three days!


Dave has grown out of it and is an elephant keeper at the Denver Zoo. He has written a children’s book, called The Elephants of Denver, and is using all proceeds from it to travel to Nepal and work on conservation. One of the things he is working on is an orphanage for rhinos that are separated from their mothers during the monsoons every year. He is also making efforts to start a vet hospital for wild animals such as tigers, elephants, etc.


The third thing Dave is doing in Nepal is supplying other environmentally passionate people with things they need. For example, an anti-poaching team needed a faster way to get around, so he and his colleagues bought motorbikes for them. This is just a sample of what Dave is doing, and he is doing a lot of great things for animals and people in Nepal.


Not so far away, he is caring for other animals. A couple of these animals are Mimi and Dolly, who are the two female elephants at the Denver Zoo. The thing he enjoys most about being a zookeeper is the contact with the animals, and he also enjoys educating the visitors.
Some animals paint, too! Dave sprays paint into an elephant’s trunk, then holds the trunk like a hose and asks him/her to blow. When the elephant blows all over a canvas, a painting is created. So elephants’ paintings are basically, as he remarked, “a really pretty sneeze.”


For young conservationists looking to help animals, here’s what Dave says: just learn more about them! His reason is because if you know more about animals, you can show people why they should be helped and respected.


Another way to support conservation is simply to buy Dave’s book, whether for yourself or as a gift for someone else. This book can only be bought at the zoo or through Dave. To contact Dave, his email is It is a fun story for younger readers, and the book also teaches about the elephants at the zoo. The book also has a little bit of appropriate humor and silly rhymes. Whatever you do to help animals, just remember that the animal that is being helped silently thanks you!