How would Darwin have explained this?
Back in March, Lawrence Anthony, a conservationist and author known as “The Elephant Whisperer”, passed away. After his death, although they were not alerted to the event, a group of wild elephants Anthony helped to rescue and rehabilitate travelled to his house in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. They stood around the house in an apparent vigil for two days, and then dispersed. Today, the elephants are “completely wild and doing fine” according to Graham Spence, Anthony’s brother-in-law and co-author of three books. . . .
As for the elephants that Lawrence Anthony worked so hard to save, Spence says they are in great spirits at the moment: “The elephants at Thula Thula are completely wild and doing fine, especially with the good rains over the summer”. Spence added that he suspects, “without being overly over-the-top, that the fact they all trooped up to his house the night he died could in some unfathomable way indicate they know he has gone, and accept it as all things that come to pass”.
There are photos of the troop.
Lawrence Anthony was a conservationist and author known as “The Elephant Whisperer” who passed away on March 2nd. In 1999, Anthony rescued and rehabilitated a group of wild South African elephants who were deemed dangerous. And the animals appear to remember what he did for them: when Anthony passed away, a group of elephants visited his house in the South African KwaZulu for a two-day vigil, according to his family. . . .
When Anthony died of a heart attack, the elephants, who were grazing miles away in different parts of the park, travelled over 12 hours to reach his house. According to his son Jason, both herds arrived shortly after Anthony’s death. They hadn’t visited the compound where Anthony lived for a year and a half, but Jason says “in coming up there on that day of all days, we certainly believe that they had sensed it”.
Maybe this was just a random event. Maybe the children of the deceased are reading too much into this. But it may be that elephants don’t just remember. They understand.