The world is saying goodbye this month to one of the most fascinating conservationists of this generation. Elephant Whisperer

The world is saying goodbye this month to one of the most fascinating conservationists of this generation. Elephant Whisperer – so-called because of his ability to understand and calm otherwise violent and terrified elephants – Lawrence Anthony passed away from a heart attack on March 2, 2012, during a business trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Most famous for his bold rescue of several animals from the shattered and shelled Baghdad Zoo in 2003, Anthony was on a tour to promote his new book, coauthored with compatriot and brother-in-law Graham Spence, titled The Last Rhinos, an in-depth look at Anthony’s time in the Congo trying to save the white rhinoceros.

Courtesy of Lawrence Anthony


“The [Lord’s Resistance Army] was encamped in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which at the time was the last refuge of the northern white rhino,” Anthony said in an interview last year. “Essentially, I went and found them in the jungle to try and persuade them not kill the game guards or the last few rhinos. I ended up living with leaders in their secret jungle camps. My discussions and attempts to persuade the LRA to save the rhino expanded into child soldiers, peace talks and other matters.”

As much a diplomat as a conservationist, Anthony negotiated peace and cooperative agreements among African rebels and their governments, scientists and land developers, and various belligerent African tribes, all to help protect some of the continent’s rarest species of charismatic megafauna. It is because of his dedication and enthusiasm that most militant and warring groups understand that parks and other protected areas are off limits as war zones.

Courtesy of Lawrence Anthony


During his time in Iraq, he helped rescue scores of animals, including Hussein family’s exotic pets, that were otherwise forgotten by both the invading United States and the local Iraqis. This included tracking down thieves and smugglers, buying food for the carnivores, and cleaning and repairing cages.

“American soldiers who were fighting all day would come back and put down their M-16s and help us in the zoo, and I had the Iraqi Republican Guard[…] coming, as well,” Anthony told Izilwane. “Outside of the zoo, they’re shooting the hell out of each other, inside the zoo they were helping each other, and that is the effect of people wanting to be with and help the animals.”

He wrote about these experiences in the 2007 account Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.

Anthony is survived not only by his loving family, but also by the countless animals whose lives he touched in so many ways.

Courtesy of Lawrence Anthony

Some reports indicate that even the very elephants he helped rescue on the Thula Thula Reserve in South Africa came to pay respects to their fallen comrade. After being absent from the lodge for more than a year, the herd ambled for twelve hours to say goodbye.

Jacob Zuma will be opening a dinner is to be held in remeberance of Anthony, and to launch his latest book ,The Last Rhinos at the end of March

To support any one of Anthony’s causes or attend this dinner please contact me on To make a donation to Earth Org visit


Letter to the people who supported the inspirational, motivational & incredible Elephant Whisperer

Dear Yvette, Marissa and Shannon,
Starting off this email and saying I trust you are all well, as one does when not “close” to those you are writing to, would feel like a the absolute antonym for what you are all feeling at present  – and as someone who had at last met both Lawrence and Marissa I feel I know you all on a personal basis… perhaps animal lovers and environmentalists communicate in a way we have yet to discern just as the Thula Thula and all Ellies do.

Awhile back I offered my services to assist in any way possible with the marketing, digital elements, web stuff, celebrity endorsements etc. after having devoured both the Elephant Whisperer and Babylons’ Ark on one weekend. As a ” bush baby” with 8 dogs (whom I adore) to placate my need for the rest of the wild animals I crave, these books not only touched and inspired me but awoke in me the sense that I needed to do something to help our Earth and its precious inhabitants, here I refer to the four legged kind, as they are bearing the brunt of man’s selfishness and cruelty.

Marissa explained how incredible busy you have all been, yet her and Lawrence were so friendly, had time to chat as though they were not planning one of the largest book launches in South African History and both are (Marissa) and were (Lawrence) genuinely the most down to earth people I have come across in ages. 

To hear Lawrence speak was unforgettable. His passion, integrity, love, fearlessness and hope enough to move one to tears or to break out in celebration. He made one feel as though anything was possible as long as you believed, worked hard at it and of course took a few chances. 

To meet him and afterwards read about the awards he has received, the people he is in contact with on a daily basis and most importantly the changes he has made in the lives of so many precious animals and peoples lives is incredible. This is a man you know would have treated a beggar and a King in the same manner… the beggar with more respect if he understood the importance of saving humanity.

When we heard of your loss on Saturday. I was quite literally blow away, it seems crazy that such a good man was taken in the midst of doing what the world needs most,  trying to save one of the oldest living creatures in History, not only that but trying to show people that these giant and small beasts are not only a “species to be wiped out” but an intelligent form of life  who communicate with each other, form family ties and live in a way we as humans have yet to understand and now risk the possibility of not being able to do so. God obviously needed him up there for a reason, perhaps to watch the poachers and send out signals to the Ellies and Rhinos in his whisper…
I have spent many hours wondering what Nana and the herd would do, if they would sense his departure from this world to the next and reading tonight that all 20 Elephants came to the house is absolutely amazing and beautiful… Lawrence was the ultimate Elephant Whisperer … he understood them and they loved him for this as did the people who he touched in his life.
He also never took full credit for his accomplishments but always gave thanks and gratitude to those who assisted him. In many an email he would speak of all of you as though you were the founders of Earth Org, Marissa you were basically his GPS, laptop and memory in one.
There are no words to ease the pain of losing someone so incredible. So all I can say is I am so so sorry. He is happy and healthy and enjoying a few beers with bijou :). My sincerest condolences to you all….  we have lost a mentor and teacher… you have lost that and a friend…..
“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.

Death is the last enemy: once we’ve got past that I think everything will be alright.”

I would still love to assist you in any way I can. I am not busy at present so can and will do anything…. obviously at no cost. If you hold the book launch as a tribute please let me assist I have done eventing and have great contacts with Celebrities and Businessmen alike. The former for the attraction the latter for the donations. I would also love to assist and become fully involved in Earth Org to educate people and let them know this is where to go to help whether they are environmentalists, conservationists or just animals lovers.
With all these charities popping up it seems we are diluting what we could all achieve together….. so Ladies Lets make Lawrence proud and get Earth Org, for now, to be the charity of choice in South Africa. I am visiting the USA in May, VISA permitting, for my cousins wedding, and will talk to their best family friends. They are the 16th wealthiest families in the USA and have strong ties with The Clinton’s, Obama’s etc…. lets see what we can do. I am determined. One handbag to them could fence off a reserve! Please just call me on +27824619996 and I will be there to lug water and clean drains if I have to… I will get Oscar, Ryk, Jeannie and all SA celebs to support – and would like to do an Olympics initiative for the rhino’s and  Lawrence.
Here is a song that is believe might make you cry but the words are just so true to some passing on to a better place. We mourn yet they are happy
Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven’s love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem’ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don’t waste a breath, don’t shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don’t wait for me
Above the universe you’ll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won’t forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

Jo-Anne Bayvel
Marketing Consultant  – Above, Below and on The Line

All of you looking to assist please go to