Condensed by Native Village
In a stunning display of interspecies connectedness, a herd of wild elephants was recently seen mourning the death of their friend and savior, Lawrence Anthony. Anthony passed away on March 2, 2012.
A conservationist and author known as “The Elephant Whisperer,” Anthony was known for his unique ability to communicate with and calm traumatized elephants. In his book ‘The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild’, he tells the story of saving two herds of wild South African elephants.
Uniquely committed to these animals, Anthony concluded: ”To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them. But, most importantly, be with them day and night.”
Following Anthony’s death, the herds of elephants embarked on a 12 hour journey to visit his wife and children at their home. According to Anthony’s son, in the year and a half they had lived there, the elephants had never visited their home. He was quoted: ”in coming up there on that dayof all days, we certainly believe that they had sensed it.”
While it remains incredible that the elephants were able to sense his death, elephants are in fact known for their grieving rituals. Researchers have observed elephants grieving the deaths of their relatives, both in the wild and in captivity.
Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife andre habilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in2003.
On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons and numerous elephants.
Two days after his passing, a remarkable thing happened! The wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say "goodbye" to their beloved man-friend. A total of 20 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African house.
Witnessing this spectacle, many people were obviously in awe, not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion that the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way. Walking slowly - for days - making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.
Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over a year, yet they knew where they were going! The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who'd saved their lives - so much respect that they stayed for 2 days and 2 nights. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.