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Elephants have an amazing memory.

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from
college. 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 Mbembe approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a
large thorn deeply embedded in it.


As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn 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 stern look on
its face, and just stared at him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood
frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the
elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.


Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.


Twenty years later he was walking through a zoo with his teenaged son. As
they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned
and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing.


The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and 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 the man.


Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering
if this was the same elephant. Mbembe 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.


Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the
man's legs and swung him viciously back and forth against the railing, brutally killing him right before his own son's eyes.


It probably wasn't the same elephant.
 
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