Sunday, September 9, 2012

How did they know? 31 elephants travelled 12 miles to pay respect..

An email from my Inbox made me stretch for a Kleenex. Not sure if it'll have the same effect on you but this real-life episode is a great read and is worth passing on..


Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild,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.

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, 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 31 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 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 3 years!
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 2 nights without eating anything...

Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home............

Source: Unknown.. but if you know the source, please leave a comment below.


  1. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Reminds me of the Hindi movie - Haathi mere sathi - the elephant, my friend.

  2. Your wish is my command! Here's a dinkum South African (ex) journalist with more information. :)

    Elephants are intelligent and protective of sick animals, but readers will have to decide for themselves whether this particular event was sheer coincidence or more than that. (Personally I think to say "separate wild herds arrived in droves" is stretching the truth till it's squeaking.)

    The original source is a BBC interview with Lawrence Anthony's son, Dylan. The relevant bit starts at 12:00.

    Snopes - the website that debunks internet myths - describes this story as "research in progress". Link here:

  3. Oops. That long link doesn't quite work. Here's a hyperlink.