As Anthony worked with the unruly elephants, he developed a deep connection with them. “To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them,” Anthony wrote in his 2009 book, The Elephant Whisperer. That devotion inspired Anthony to found the Earth Organization, an environmental group, in 2003, on behalf of many endangered animals.
Two days after Anthony’s death, the elephant herd he’d welcomed in 1999 and had lived among for years approached his house in single file. “The elephants lined up behind the fence and waited, agitated but not aggressive,” recalls Anthony’s wife of 25 years, Françoise Anthony. Then the 21 giant, gentle, gray beasts rocked from side to side, making deep and mournful rumbling noises. “We feel they came to pay their respects,” she says.