In 1986, my cousin Greg Wilson was on holiday in Kenya after he graduated from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
He once told me a great story about a day when he was hiking through the bush and he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Greg approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a
large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently
as he could, Greg worked the wood out with his knife, after which the
elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the
him, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for
several tense moments.
Greg stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.
Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.
Greg never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later, Greg was walking through the South Perth Zoo with his
teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the
creatures turned and walked over to near where Greg and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Greg,
lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant
did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Greg could not help but wonder if
this was the same elephant. Greg 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 Greg’s legs and
slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.
I’m thinking it probably wasn’t the same elephant.