On March 7, 2012, Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, two sons, two grandsons and numerous elephants.
Mr. Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of three books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.
Two days after Mr. Anthony's passing, the wild elephants, led by two large matriarchs, showed up at his home, and separate wild herds arrived in droves, all to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend. A total of thirty-one elephants had patiently walked over twelve miles to get to his South African house.
Witnessing this spectacle, humans 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 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.
So how, after Anthony’s
death, did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the
park — know? “A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D.,
“And from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had
lost a beloved human friend, moved in a
solemn, almost ‘funeral’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at
the deceased man’s home.”
“If there ever were a time, when we can
truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we
reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart’s stops, and hundreds of
elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered
healing to these elephants, and now they came to pay loving homage to their
Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the
elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over three
But yet the elephants knew where they were going. They obviously wanted to pay their deep respect, honoring their friend who had saved their lives, so much respect that they stayed for two days and two nights without eating anything.
Then one morning,
they left, making their long journey
* * *
*This heartwarming story was written by Rob Kirby. Thanks to my cousin, Joe, for sending it to me.