Saturday, November 22, 2014

Elephants never forget

You're invited to email inspiring stories to If they pass the truthorfiction test, they may become a future crumb of comfort. Today's crumb comes from a reader in Canada.

Lawrence Anthony was an international environmentalist and author. He is often remembered in South Africa for rescuing and rehabilitating a herd of violent, rogue elephants who had escaped their enclosure and were wreaking havoc across KwaZulu Natal. The elephants were about to be shot, when Anthony was able to communicate with the herd's matriarch by body language and the tone of his voice. He brought them to a safe reserve, and became known as "the elephant whisperer." Apparently they never forgot him.

Approaching the Anthony home in South Africa.

Among each other, elephants remember and mourn the loss of loved ones. When an elephant walks past a place where a loved one has died, it will stop and pause silently for several minutes. The elephants Anthony saved regarded him as their friend.

Two days after he passed away in 2012, two herds of wild elephants led by two matriarchs arrived at his rural compound in the vast Thula Thula Game Reserve.  A total of 31 elephants had walked single-file over 12 miles through the Zululand bush from their habitat to his home. They had not been near the house for three years, but knew where they were going. To pay respect to a friend who saved their lives, the elephants stayed and fasted for two days and nights before returning to their habitat.

How they knew he died remains a mystery.

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