Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The "Elephant Whisperer"

Painting by Jonathan Truss
 Lawrence Anthony was  a legend in South Africa.  The  author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, he bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in 2003.

Reading recently, with extreme disgust, about Trump's repeal of laws that prohibited trophy hunters from bringing their "prizes", the heads of elephants and other endangered animals, into the U.S., I remembered this wonderful story about the intelligence, and memory, of elephants. 

Anthony  died on March 7, 2012  in a hospital in Durban and his body was brought to his game reserve and home  to be buried. Two days after his passing, a remarkable thing happened.  The wild elephants he had come to know and rescue showed up at his home, led by two large matriarchs.  According to a story widely circulated,  shortly after his death  two herds he rescued and worked with before releasing into the wild  started moving to his house, which they had not visited in over a year. They had walked patiently for  miles.  The herds were visible in the background whilst the funeral took place. They later split again into two groups  and moved to their separate parts of the reserve.  Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, believing the  elephants wanted to pay their respects to a friend.

According to Truth or Fiction, a fact finding site similar to Snopes,  this story of two herds of elephants  reintroduced into the wild, and later  travelling to the home of Anthony after his death is true. 

"Reports that two herds of South African elephants that were rescued by wildlife conservationist Lawrence Anthony traveled to his home to pay their respects upon Anthony’s death are true.   This according to a March 11, 2012 article by the New York Times.   Anthony’s son, Dylan Anthony, told the New York Times that the elephants gathered on the edge of the reserve near his house every night after Lawrence Anthony's  death.
Anthony was the author of numerous books on wildlife conservation. He also created the 5,000-acre Thula Thula wildlife sanctuary and adopted herds of elephants that would have been killed, according to the  Times obituary.  Elephants have been known to grieve the deaths of friends and relatives. They sometimes stay beside the bodies of loved ones to mourn for up to three full days, according to a January 30, 2013 article by the Daily Mail.

1 comment:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I remember reading about those herds after he died. Trump withdrew his disgusting edict because of public outcry.