Wednesday, February 25, 2009

kenya elephant: an inspirational story

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after
graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull
elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The
elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot
and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As
carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood
out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant
gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the
man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at
him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking
of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant
trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never
forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Over twenty years later, Peter was walking through the
Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the
elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked
over so it was close to where Peter and his son Cameron were
standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted
its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The
elephant did that several times and then trumpeted loudly,
all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter couldn't help
wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up
his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into
the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared
back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its
trunk around one of Peter legs, and slammed him against the
railing, killing him instantly.

It probably wasn't the same elephant.


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