12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony,
The Elephant Whisperer.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Lawrence Anthony dedicated his life to Thula Thula game reserve. In early 1990s, he later on bought the 5,000-acre animal reserve. His career as the elephant whisperer started after he was called upon by a conservation group to rescue a group of nine elephants who had escaped their enclosure and were about to be shot. Lawrence rushed to the scene and tried to communicate with the matriarch of the herd through the tone of his voice and body language.
“Here I was in pitch darkness, talking to a wild female elephant with a baby, the most dangerous possible combination, as if we were having a friendly chat. But I meant every word. ‘You will all die if you go. Stay here. I will be here with you and it’s a good place.’“She took another step forward. I could see her tense up again, preparing to snap the electric wire and be out, the rest of the herd smashing after her in a flash.“I was in their path, and would only have seconds to scramble out of their way and climb the nearest tree. I wondered if I would be fast enough to avoid being trampled. Possibly not.“Then something happened between Nana and me, some tiny spark of recognition, flaring for the briefest of moments. Then it was gone. Nana turned and melted into the bush. The rest of the herd followed. I couldn’t explain what had happened between us, but it gave me the first glimmer of hope since the elephants had first thundered into my life.” Anthony writes, in attempt to describe the situation.
He eventually rescued them and brought them back to his reserve.
In 2003, He established a conservation group called The Earth Organization, and two new reserves: the Mayibuye Game Reserve in Kwa Ximba and the Royal Zulu Biosphere in Zululand. Both of the reserve aims to provide income for local tribe people through wildlife tourism.
Anthony died on March 7, 2012. Shortly after his death, two herds of wild South African elephants arrived at Anthony’s family compound and stayed there for two days. The locals believed that that is the herd’s way of paying respect to their deceased friend.
“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Anthony’s son, Dylan, said.
“The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.” He added.