Elephants Journey to Pay Respect to a Human They Loved

Lawrence 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. 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. 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 ‘funereal’ 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 friend.” 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 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 two days two nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long return journey.
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