The Memory of Elephants

In 2012 the legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died at his home in Thula Thula Game reserve in Zululand. What happened in the days following his death was truly extraordinary. Two herds of wild elephants grazing in separate areas of the vast reserve began to walk towards his house. Both herds had been saved by Anthony from being shot as pests and had been allowed to live out their lives in peace in the reserve. It took the elephants many hours to make the journey. Neither herd had appeared near the house in over a year and yet,from two separate areas of the reserve and within the space of twenty four hours both herds arrived and remained near the house for a couple of days. So how did the elephants ‘know’ that the man who had saved them had died?

“A good man died suddenly,” said 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.”

There is no logical explanation for this event. The elephants seem to have just ‘known’ in some ancient inner sense of knowing that we all have but often choose to ignore in the face of logic.

Some people are better than others at tuning into ‘gut instinct’, at listening to gut reactions to decisions they make.

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Describe a time in your life when you followed your gut instinct or a time when you chose to ignore it? What happened then?