Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 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.
Anthony, who grew up in rural Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, 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 the elephant herds, at the request of an animal welfare organization.
Anthony concluded that the only way he could save these elephants, who were categorized as violent and unruly, was to live with them – “To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them. But, most importantly, be with them day and night”.
On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons & numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, 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, 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 several hours – 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! But 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.
Back to Stories