There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after the author’s death.
“Nana, the matriarch of her herd, tensed her enormous frame and flared her ears.
“’Don’t do it, Nana,’ I said, as calmly as I could. She stood there, motionless but tense. The rest of the herd froze.
“’This is your home now,’ I continued. ‘Please don’t do it, girl.’
I felt her eyes boring into me.
“’They’ll kill you all if you break out. This is your home now. You have no need to run any more.’
“Suddenly, the absurdity of the situation struck me,” Anthony writes. “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.”