How do you even begin to try and find words that describe an icon like Lawrence Anthony. To me he was ‘the true essence of humanity’. From a mystical point of view, I can only describe him as having achieved a perfect blending of a physical being with a pure non-physical soul.
From reading about his incredible journey with the wild herd of elephants (The Elephant Whisperer) on his game reserve Thula Thula in Zululand, South Africa, you get a strong sense of his integrity. He abhorred destruction and hatred. He was connected with greater things and greater understandings. Lawrence Anthony was able to see the wonder and miracle of life on this planet. He was able to see the sheer magnificence of this world that we as humans appear to be so incompetent at sharing. He knew that the earth and all her inhabitants were to be treasured.
As we look around the world today, we can’t help but observe that not only are humans destroying millions of their own kind in the name of politics, power and religion, they are also hell bent on annihilating animal life and the environment. Both violence towards people and animals for many of the two legged beings has become a socially acceptable form of human behaviour: sadly, a way of life.
Lawrence Anthony, in my mind was guided by a pureness of spirit, non-violence and compassion towards all living things. He was passionate about people, animals and the environment.
In his book Babylons Ark, the incredible rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, this amazing man wrote:
The prophets of doom are already saying it is too late, that the crude and uniformed impact of man on the planet’s life systems is just too great and that we don’t have enough time to turn it all around. I don’t happen to agree, but I do know that we are entering the endgame. Unless there is a swift and marked change in our attitudes and actions, we could well be on our way to becoming an endangered species.’
Powerful words from a special man who sadly left this earth too early.
Lawrence Anthony was an icon in the environmentalist movement. One of his legacies ‘Earth Organisation’: a non profit, non partisan organisation aimed at reversing the dwindling spiral of life on earth and creating a healthy and habitable planet on which all life has the right to thrive and prosper.
Lawrence Anthony was 61 years old when he died of a heart attack. He was taken before his planned conservation gala dinner in Durban aimed at raising international awareness of the Rhino poaching pandemic and to launch his new book, ‘The last Rhinos’.
In April, 2012, he was posthumously awarded honorary Doctor of Science degree by College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal.
On his passing, the two wild elephant herds trekked through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of this compassionate man who had saved their lives. This man, who was known as ‘The Elephant Whisperer’, a legend to more than those whose paths he had crossed, was being shown the ultimate love and respect from these sentient animals who had looked into his very being and found the pureness in this man.
The world and it’s inhabitants has lost a great spirit, and one of natures true warriors, who restored more than just a herd of elephant’s faith in mankind.
BOOKS BY LAWRENCE ANTHONY (Information below from Wikipedia)
‘Anthony is a bestselling author and his books have been translated into several languages. His brother-in-law, Graham Spence co-authored his three books.
Anthony’s first book Babylon’s Ark, published by Thomas Dunne Books, is the true story of the wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. Babylon’s Ark has won literary awards including the Booklist Editors Choice in the category adult books for young adults, and the French 28th Prix Littéraire 30 Millions d’Amis literary award, popularly known as the Goncourt for animals.
Anthony’s second book, The Elephant Whisperer, published by Pan Macmillan, tells the story of his adventures and relationship with a rescued herd of African elephants.
Anthony’s third book, The Last Rhinos, published by Sidgwick & Jackson, is the true story of Anthony’s involvement to rescue the remaining Northern White Rhinos in the DR Congo.’
Awards and recognitions
- The Global Nature Fund, Living Lakes Best Conservation Practice Award, for “A remarkable contribution to nature conservation and environmental protection.”
- The Earth Day medal presented at the United Nations by the Earth Society for his rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.
- The Earth Trustee Award.
- The US Army 3rd Infantry, Regimental medal for bravery in Iraq during the Coalition invasion of Baghdad.
- The Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship for outstanding contribution to the ideals of Rotary.
- The IAS Freedom Medal.
- The Umhlatuzi Mayoral Award for Outstanding Community Service.
- Member of the governing council of the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science.
- International membership, the Explorers Club of New York.
- At a presentation in Washington, DC in March 2009, respected international journalist Tom Clynes named South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony amongst his six most impressive and influential people in a lifetime of reporting. Other names on the list include such luminaries as Sir Edmund Hillary