Lawrence Anthony: The Elephant Whisperer

Lawrence Anthony: The Elephant Whisper
Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7. His family tells of a solemn procession on March 10 that defies human explanation.

It is about the power of love. “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 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.”

For 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 conservationist who saved their lives.The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7? Known for his unique ability to calm traumatized elephants, Anthony had become a legend. He is the author of three books, Baghdad
Ark, detailing his efforts to rescue the animals at Baghdad Zoo during the Iraqi war, the forthcoming The Last Rhinos, and his bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.

There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.“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,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “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.”Elephants have long been known to mourn their dead. In India, baby elephants often are raised with a boy who will be their lifelong “mahout.” The pair develop legendary bonds – and it is not uncommon for one to waste away without a will to live after the death of the other.


  1. I am so sincerely moved! how awesome an experience to have in life. I can never understand people who just dont care for animals….mine are family members…they know when i’m unwell, and sit with me until I am well again…maybe it comes from nursing them as well, there definately is an unbreakable bond. My dog is a turkish kangal, and every morning he puts his head in my hands, and looks deep into your eyes and takes in your breath, then sighs deeply and you can see all is right in his day…the cats are the same….to have this with other animals, wow, I can only wish!

    1. Tracey,

      Thank you for the shout out. I am deeply moved by the plight of our wild elephants. I’m glad to know they had an ambassador like Lawrence Anthony. Now who will step up to serve our animal friends? ad

  2. Thank you so very much, Alan, for sharing this heartwarming story. I wasn’t familiar with Lawrence but feel so blessed to know about his wonderful work with the elephants. How utterly amazing and beautiful, their tribute to him.. I totally concur regarding how very painful it is to learn about animals being mistreated. They are such gifts in our lives – and yes, true angels. (As I write this, 5 of my 6 ‘angels’ surround me – 3 of my cats and 2 of my dogs in a circle around me!! )

    1. Maureen; my two Boxer dogs are serenading our library with snores as I type. I love having them near me as I work. They are a joy (and tonic) to my spirit. And I’m glad you enjoyed Lawrence and the tribute to his life. Amazing…

  3. that was a lovely video to watch. I am teary because I know the relationship that humans can have with any animals if the proper energy is there. What a special man and we are sad to have lost such a gift.

    1. Elanor – Man’s cruelty to man is almost unbearable for me to tolerate. Man’s cruelty to our animal-friends is even harder for me. Angels like Lawrence Anthony bring a song to my heart. Tears flow through my eyes and my heart soars when I hear the stories of how our animal-friends respond to these angels. The great mystery shines through for us all. ad

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