Amazing intelligence in animals—Elephants journey to pay their respects


This short story was first published in the Temple City Star on 22 February, 2018

“Perhaps measuring animal intelligence by comparing it to human intelligence isn’t the best litmus test” — Ingrid Newkirk

We’ve learned, even as children, that elephants are supposed to have a good memory, but that’s not the only attribute they possess. Elephants are also very respectful, and they can show gratitude for kindness offered them.

For example, Lawrence Anthony, born 17 September, 1950 in Johannesburg, is a legend in Africa. Author of three books, he’s also known as The Elephant Whisperer because of his many charitable deeds in rescuing animals, including elephants. Although no elephants were involved in this particular rescue, he played an influential role in the rescue of the Baghdad Zoo animals during the United State’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Anthony died on March 7th, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Now for the interesting part! The African elephants sensed Anthony’s passing, so two days after his death, led by two large matriarchs, a total of 31 elephants patiently, solemnly, walked slowly, reverently, in single file, over 12 hours, to get to his house to pay their respects. They stayed 2 days and 2 nights without eating (fasting), then made their long journey back to their home territories.

Yes, Virginia, “Something in the universe is greater and deeper than what we’re superficially led to believe!”

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